N30trn Customs probe: Senate gives CBN 7 days to recover N536bn lost revenue

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”The only bank that is free of this infraction is Zenith Bank.

The Senate on Tuesday gave Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) seven days to recover monies collected by banks on behalf of Nigeria Customs Service but not remitted to it.

The order was given by the Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff at an investigative meeting with the CBN, Ministry of Finance, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), commercial banks and other stakeholders.

Chairman of the committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, who announced the ultimatum at the meeting, said the senate would involve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should the CBN fail to recover the money.

According to him, of the over N30 trillion being investigated by the committee, over N536 billion was terminated at the various banks but not remitted to CBN.

”There are various infractions regarding import and export duties and we have carried out detailed investigation into the matter.

”Today, we will address the non-remittance of revenue collected on behalf of Customs.

”The only bank that is free of this infraction is Zenith Bank.

”We must recover what we are able to and moving forward, we must stop this infraction that is affecting our economy negatively,” he said.

Uzodinma decried the development, saying it was worrisome and had affected the Naira adversely.

He said it was embarrassing for the Naira to exchange for almost N400 to a dollar.

He gave the banks two weeks to clarify infractions relating to utilised and unutilised Form M and Simple Goods Declaration (SGD), and others, including abandoned assessment of Customs Duties and foreign exchange allocation manipulation.

Uzodinma said that imported goods flooded the market, competing with local products.

On ways to stop multiple registration of Tax Identification Number (TIN) by importers, he called for synergy among the FIRS, CAC and Customs.

Responding to shady deals regarding TIN, the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) of FIRS, Kola Okunola, said synergy among relevant organisations had started.

He added that FIRS has commenced automation of its system.

”Going forward, any citizen that wants to register a company would start from the registration portal of CAC.

”We have also discussed with Customs to develop their system to send their infraction list to us.

”For every name, we have the ability to do data matching with the list sent to us by Customs,” Okunola said.   [SHIPS&PORTS]