There are strong indications that the nation may have incurred revenue losses of N135 billion duty to several concessions, exemptions and waivers that the federal government gave the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over a period of seven years.
This has also been a major encumbrance on customs administration in Nigeria.
This observation was made at the book launch by Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Customs Command in conjunction with Comptroller (Dr) Ben Nkem Oramalugo, at the weekend in Lagos.
In his remarks, the author of the newly launched book: “Customs Administration in Nigeria”, Compt. (Dr) Ben Oramalugo asserted that between 2004 and May 2010, NCS lost a total of 134,986,095,527.81 naira to NDDC as waivers.
He said: “I wrote this book to expose the unpatriotic dealings and atrocities of some Nigerians. Between 2003 and 2014, N1.4 trillion was lost through waivers. NCS ikot-Ekpene was given almost 1bilion in waivers and exemptions in 2007 but they were not producing anything.’’
Oramalugo on page 122 of his book gave a breakdown of the duty exemption to NDDC as N11.5bn for 2004; N15.9bn in 2005; N36.5 in 2006; N10.3 in2007; N21.7 for 2008; N16.4 for 2009 and N22.7 for five months in 2010.
He said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has refused to remit to NCS about N45bn as duty payable on imported petroleum products, while arguing that these losses also account for low revenue collection for NCS, adding that Nigeria’s losses to international conventions are huge.
He cited the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) where the losses amounted to N12.6bn between 2003 and 2009.
He said imports from ECOWAS member states attract zero duty payment because Nigeria is a signatory to the convention.
While identifying inadequate funding, weak legislative framework, proliferation of agencies at ports, inadequate infrastructure and revenue loss spurred by waivers as challenges of modern customs administration in Nigeria, he further explained that he wrote the book, to educate officers, stakeholders in trade activities and the general public about the activities of customs.
The book reviewer, Deputy Comptroller Olarewaju Olumoh, described the book as a great research work, adding, “I recommend this book first to the Strategic Department of Nigeria Customs Service, all officers of the NCS and students of the financial department in institutions and the general public.”