Why Hameed Ali cannot head customs Board…..ANLCA  President

Why Hameed Ali cannot head customs Board…..ANLCA President

Sola Jonathan in Lagos
The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs
Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu  has reiterated the fact that
it is an aberration for the Comptroller General (CG) of the Nigerian
Customs Service (NCS), Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd)  to be the Chairman
of the Board of the Service..
Shittu disclosed to  newsmen  in Lagos recently that since the Customs
is supervised by the Ministry of Finance which has a Minister and for
the fact that the CG cannot be greater and superior to the head of
that Ministry which oversees the activities  of the Service , then the
Minister should be the Chairman of the Board of Customs.
According to him, if the Customs has a Service Commission, it would be
headed by a retired Customs CG but since it does not have such
structure but operates under the Ministry of  Finance  there is no way
the  CG can be the Chairman of the Board.
He commended the CG on its efforts to reform the Customs but stated
that he should be ready to abide by the existing  rules of the land as
to the relevant person should head the Customs Board if he truly
desires the development  of the  Service.
The ANLCA President disclosed that it was a good development that the
members of the National Assembly have also not minced words on letting
the CG of Customs know that the Chairmanship of the Board of the
Customs is the prerequisite of the Finance Minister, adding that in as
much as the legislature is saying it the way it should be  no single
person can say that he is above the law or greater than Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise
told the CG recently when he appeared before it  on the issue of why
he was performing the duties of the Service board by sacking and
promoting officers,  that  he has no right to be the Chairman of the
Board.
In a related development, Shittu SHITTUstated that some people are even
clamoring in some quarters that the Customs should be merged with the
Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) adding if that becomes a
reality, it means that the Service  will still be under the body
supervising income generation,  which is under the Ministry of
Finance.
He however observed that since Customs job does not only rest on
revenue generation but  also handles security of the nation, which is
why it belongs to the Security Council  while it is in charge of
enforcement and prohibition ,saying that  its fusion with the FIRS
will  then mean that it can only collect revenue on goods that come
into the country legally, wondering on the workability of such an
arrangement.
The ANLCA President said that a merger of the Customs with the FIRS
will also create a challenge of which body will manage the issue of
statistics on the level of imports and exports to and from Nigeria
which used to be the responsibility of the Customs, saying that in
Britain  such role is performed by Our Royal Majesty Service  while
in America , the Enforcement Arm is the Homeland Security.
He advised that  the Federal Government  should not just experiment on
an arrangement that will not work  , but should plan very well
whatever future it has for the Customs, adding that it should also be
known that while Customs is a para- military body the FIRS is a civil
agency.
The National Assembly is currently reviewing the Customs and Excise
Management Act(CEMA) , the enabling law which governs the
establishment, operations and the administration of the para –
military Service.

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