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Senate passes N238.15bn budget for Nigerian Customs Service

The Senate on Tuesday at plenary
passed the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) 2020 budget of N238.15 billion amidst
dissenting views by some senators.

The passing of the budget
followed the presentation of a report on the budget by the Senate Committee on
Customs, Excise and Tariff and consideration of the report.

Some of the senators at plenary
had raised concerns that budget report presented by the Senate Committee on
Customs, Excise and Tariff was not detailed.

The senators, had noted that the
report presented by the Committee Chairman Chairman, Sen. Francis Alimikhena
(APC -Edo) was not tidy, noting that some of the figures were not adding up.

They also noted that the NCS like
others Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have for the past six years
not submitted their audited reports.

The senators who kicked against
the report, noted that Customs cannot be getting seven per cent from revenue
collected, two percent from all Value Added Tax (VAT), allocation from
federation account and other revenues and still be receiving allocation from
the Federation Account.

In his contribution on the
report, Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) said : “This report is too scanty for us
to look at.

” The Committee should have taken
a proper look at the report before submitting it to us.
“We need to look at the
federation account properly.”

Sen.Gabriel Suswam said that
before the Customs budget could be passed, proper explanation should be made,
so that the senate would understand why some figures are not adding up.

Sen.Solomon Olamilekan(APC-Lagos)
had earlier observed that the seven per cent allocated to Customs from revenue
generated was enough to defray its expenditure.

He,however, said NCS was still
drawing funds from the federation account despite the allocation of 7 per cent.

Sen. Matthew Urhoghide(PDP-Edo)
said, : “The fact that Customs is collecting seven per cent  does not mean that its budget should not be

Sen. Ibn Na’allah,(APC
-Kebbi)said: “This Senate has a duty to bring all agencies into conformity with
the vision of federal government.

” We must bring our institutions
to conform with what will make the country proud.
“We can’t pass this kind of
But Sen.Adamu Alerio (APC -Kebbi
) in his contribution however urged the Senate to passe the budget given the
steering performance of NCS in revenue generation in 2019 and improved welfare
of its personnel.

Earlier, Sen. Alimikhena while
presenting the committee’s report explained that the proposal was based on
Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

He said a total expenditure of
N238.15 billion was been proposed for the 2020.

Highlights of the budget
proposal, according to him includes, the establishment of the E-Customs Project
through massive deployment of information communication technology to eliminate
personal interface in customs operations.

“The implementation of the
Nigeria Customs Service Salary Structure for 15,892 officers and men of the
Service; the recruitment of three thousand two hundred (3,200) officers and men
and their training among others.

In his remarks after the passage
of the budget, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said:
“We expect MDAs to present their
audited accounts before the end of the year especially towards the end of
December or at least the first quarter of the year.

“If any agency refuses or fails
without any congent reason, we have reason to take a drastic action when it
comes to appropriation because not to account for what you have been given in
the previous year, that is to say you are not prepared to take a new budget.

“So I’m advising the MDAs,
especially those that are not up to date with their audited accounts to do so.

“We could decide as a National
Assembly to take measures against agencies of government that are not up to
date with their audited accounts.” (NAN)

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