- Customs CG Ali fails to honour Senate’s invitation
- As Senate rejects Magu again
Intimidated by the unflinching posture of the Senate, the Customs Service (NCS) has put on hold its proposed period for duty payments on old vehicles .
This is probably the first remarkable time the Senate would stand their ground consistently on an issue affecting the masses from a stronger and highly empowered body.
The Acting Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Mr Joseph Attah who confirmed this in Abuja, on Wednesday also said the decision was to enable the Customs Service ably engage the Senate Committee on Customs on further discussions.
Attah in a statement, highlighted that the Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali led Customs management had directed that the exercise be put on hold and expressed its readiness to engage the Senate Committee on further discussions, adding that the essence was to bring the Senate on board to understand the importance of the exercise to national security and economy.
“Following the tension generated as a result of misconception and misrepresentation of the NCS planned motor duty payment, the leadership of the National Assembly and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) met with a view to resolving the impasse.
“They both agreed that the proposed motor duty payment, though in line with the provision of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Cap C.45, LFN 2004, should be put on hold.
“While the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise interfaces with the NCS for further discussions.
“Payment of duty on vehicles or any dutiable imported item remains a civic responsibility of every patriotic Nigerian,’’ Attah said.
And this applies even to new vehicles bought from car dealers.
The Comptroller -General had earlier dangled a one month of grace to all Nigerian vehicle ownership who have not paid duties to do so or face outright seizure of the vehicles, igniting such palpable fears in the poor people, until the Senate came to their rescue.
The service gave a window of one month, from March 13 to April 12, for car owners to pay the appropriate duty on their vehicles.
The public relations officer said that some owners of vehicles brought into the country through the land borders, obviously, did not pay duty.
Meanwhile, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hamid Ali (retd) has failed to honour the orchestrated Senate’s invitation, citing bereavement.
In a letter he wrote to the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Ali announced that the controversial policy on car import tariff policy has been put on hold.
After reading the Customs’ boss letter at plenary on Wednesday, senators took exception to Ali’s refusal to honour the invitation, describing it as unacceptable.
Reacting to Ali’s letter, Senator Kabiru Marafa, described his action as an affront and a slight on the Senate.
The Customs chief was invited by the Senate to explain the rationale behind the introduction of import duties on old vehicles.
In the meantime, the Senate has refused to confirm the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency for the second time.
Senate President Bukola Saraki said with the rejection of Magu, he seizes to be Acting Chairman of the EFCC.
Saraki asked President Muhamadu Buhari to nominate another head for the anti-graft agency.
Additional report from Nation and Punch