Wednesday, July 29, 2015 2:37 PM / CardinalStone Research with Editorial comments from Proshare
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has suspended three commercial banks from collecting customs duties over their non-compliance with the partnership agreement with the agency. The affected banks are GT Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, and Diamond Bank Plc.
The NCS Public Relations Officer, Wale Adeniyi, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday. He said the suspension became effective immediately. According to the NCS, "the three banks were suspended because they did not discharge their full obligation as partners in the Customs revenue collection scheme."
Wale Adeniyi further stated that the NCS "will continue to work with the banks and relevant stakeholders to ensure speedy resolution of the contending issues and possibly reinstate the affected banks."
While this “new found” zeal to do the right thing about the revenue due to/from the Nigerian Customs is a welcome development, we hold the view that the NCS should do more themselves to be more transparent and efficient in their documentation record keeping, data availability and remittances to the FIRS/Consolidated Revenue Accounts.
In the first place, the Nigerian Customs Services does not provide timely, reliable and actionable data on value, value and type of imports and exports, origination and destinations, number and types of accounts kept with Nigerian banks , payments processes and level of automation that allows for a seamless integration of the import/export value chain.
It is hoped that further to the above action on these three banks (and perhaps many more to come) as well as the drive to collect duties due on imports (which ironically they cleared themselves in the first place without duties being paid or waivers being established; we can move to a more dramatic engagement with the NCS; one that fosters an integrity laden collaboration with all entities involved in the value chain.
A situation where exporters who are being owed exports credits which they are not able to utilize for netting of import duties is equally unhelpful.
That said, we implore all those who have unresolved remittances and documentation issues with the NCS to do so promptly to avoid the collateral damage this will have on our trade activities as well as perception as a destination of choice. The silence from the Ministry of Finance should give way to some clarity on the development that is appearing more like a debt collection drive than a focus on operational efficiency.