National Assembly has directed the management ofÂ Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) and Petroleum Product Marketing Company (PPMC) to ensure that officials of the Nigerian Custom Service (NCS) are present at the loading and discharging points of petroleum products coming into or leaving the country to curb all revenue leakages.
Vanguard gathered that the directive may not be unconnected with government desire to block all known avenue of revenue leakages, as well as compliance with the law guiding NNPC and PPMC import and export of petroleum products.
The directive, Vanguard gathered, is part of measures by government to determine the actual quantity of crude oil being lifted and revenues accruing there from.
To this end, government is expected to compel Customs Management to ensure that Customs Officers are trained in the techniques of physical attendance either at the Petroleum Training Institute or DPR so as to ensure their effective participation at the loading terminals in line with extant laws; while NNPC would be prevailed upon to perfect all outstanding Single Good Declaration form as required by law.
A source at the National Assembly told Vanguard: â€œWe are also looking at the possibility of mandating EFCC to recover the sum of 45.97 billion owed by the NNPC to the Nigerian Customs as there is no basis for NNPCâ€™s inability to pay the amount which is tax on petroleum product imported into the country in line with government policy at that time.
â€œIn the mean time we have recommended that government should make special release of funds to the NCS to resuscitate its Marine commands. We strongly believe that without a functional and effective marine command there is no way the Customs will perform its statutory functions of fighting smuggling on our waters, illegal bunkering and the all important functions of close physical monitoring of crude oil export at the oil loading terminal, to determine the actual quantity of crude being exported and government revenue being derived.â€
â€œWe are looking towards creating an enduring initiative to meet new challenges posed by modern day smugglers against governmentâ€™â€™s efforts at increasing national revenue by plugging leakages that weaken our economy and industriesâ€ the source noted, stressing that when the Nigerian Customs Service air-wing comes fully on stream, its task would focus essentially on border patrol to search for smuggling routes, border warehouses as well to intercept smugglers.
The air wing it was further learnt may also be expected to assist in countering insurgency and counter terrorism operations in addition to being on stand-by in response to national emergency situations.