- As Senate President Bukola Saraki says Customs stinks, should be investigated
The Federal Government has congratulated the Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative (APR) to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr Dikko Tahir Bala over his election, as the Chairman of International Mobile Satellite (IMSO).
The International body unanimously elected Dikko Tahir Bala on Tuesday in London, during the body’s 24th Assembly, for two consecutive years.
Speaking on behalf of the Federal Government and the good people of Nigeria, the Head of Nigerian Delegation to the International body, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman commended Dikko Bala, noting that the election was a big achievement for Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.
Hadiza Bala Usman, who is also the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority ( NPA) thanked the delegates from all member states for their support and trust in electing a distinguished Nigerian as the Chairman, adding that she was particularly happy that the new satellite technologies will ensure enhanced safety and security of life at sea.
“Always remember that the primary responsibility of IMSO is ensuring that lives are continuously being saved within the maritime domain, among others, ” Usman noted, assuring the Assembly that Nigeria and all other member states would be fully committed to the work of IMSO, towards ensuring that the international organisation succeeds in all its programmes.
She described the new Chairman as a meticulous, dedicated and focused Nigerian who would not allow the enviable principles of IMSO to be compromised.
“He is hardworking and have never been found wanting in the execution of his mandate”, she further posited, assuring the delegates that the Assembly would be run by the new Chairman in the best interest of the body and all concerned.
She also lauded the Directorate of the Assembly for always willing to support the member states, despite its limited resources; even as she counseled the new Chairman to always ensure that the Directorate is properly resourced and motivated to achieve its desired results
In the meantime, Senate President Bukola Saraki has come down hard on the Nigeria Customs Service saying activities of the revenue generating agency needs to be investigated.
The embattled Senate President, who is also facing a 16-count charge of false asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, was reacting to a motion sponsored by Senator Isaac Alfa and 12 co-sponsors on a motion ‘On the Urgent Need to examine the Operations of the Nigeria Customs Service Revenue Drive’.
Saraki in his reaction was quoted as saying “that place is stinking; just last week we heard the former Customs boss returned one billion naira. The NCS should be investigated”.
Other Senators who commented on the motion said it was time to look at the books of the NCS.
They agreed that the NCS should be investigated in order to identify leakages and irregularities leading to dwindling revenues.
Earlier while leading debate on the motion, Alfa said, “The revenue shortfall is as a result of unwholesome fraudulent trade malpractices, under declaration, abuse of fiscal policies concealment, over and under invoicing, force declaration of value and wrong classification.”
While urging the Senate to invoke legislative action in creating an enabling environment that sees the NCS thrive and in effect dramatically increase the revenue accruable to the country, he also canvassed for multiple revenue sources to augment the dwindling oil revenue.
On his part, Senator Shehu Sani expressed concern over the low volume of trade and commerce in the country.
“The Nigerian Customs Service is not a mere paramilitary body; it is an agency of the government specifically established to generate revenue for the country.
“We sit here and talk about budget and others, and the Customs sit there doing nothing,” he said.
Additional report from Ships & Ports