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JUNE 16TH, 2008 CLARIFICATIONS ON CHARGES AND LEVIES ON IMPORTED RICE

CLARIFICATIONS ON CHARGES AND LEVIES ON IMPORTED RICE 

Sequel to the recent FG’s removal of all Duties and Charges on Imported Rice, the Comptroller General of Customs has directed all Officer and Men to give full effect to the directive.

The Comptroller General’s directive is against the backdrop of persistent complaints from stakeholders on the proper interpretation of the FG’s Fiscal Policy, zero-rating Customs duty on imported rice, as one of the measures to avert food crisis in the country.

For the avoidance of doubt, with effect from 7th May 2008, Rice Imports into Nigeria is free from all duties and charges, including Customs duty, 7% surcharge, Value-Added Tax, and ETLS Levy. This is in compliance with Section 36 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) C45. Laws of the Federation 2004, which stipulates that duty rate applicable to an imported item for Customs Clearance purpose is that prevailing at the time of Lodgment of the Declaration, irrespective of the dates or Form M, Bill of Lading, Risk Assessment Report (RAR) or Arrival of Vessel.

However, all importers are advised to follow proper import procedure through Honest Declaration of all rice imports in our Seaports and Land boarders through out the concession period which ends in November 2008.

Importers experiencing difficulties in Clearance of Rice during this period are advised to contact The Office of the Comptroller General for immediate assistance.

JUNE 2ND, 2008 FGN APPOINTS NEW COMPTROLLER – GENERAL OF CUSTOMS

  1. President Umar Yar-adua has approved the appointment of a new Comptroller General of Customs. He is Hamman Bello Ahmed, until his appointment, an Assistant Comptroller General of Customs at the Abuja Headquarters of the Service
  2. The appointment of the new Customs helmsman followed the recent disengagement of the service of the former Customs Boss, Jacob Gyang Buba, after a stint of four years in Office. Buba was appointed Comptroller General in March 2004, to head a new management, put in place by former President Obasanjo to restructure and reform the Customs
  3. In a statement signed last week by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation [SGF], Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Ahmed’s appointment takes effect from Tuesday 27th May 2008. Few hours after the statement was made public, the Honorable Minister of Finance, Shamsudeen Usman proceeded to decorate the new Comptroller General with the new badges of rank, at a ceremony held at the Ministry’s Conference Room, Glass house, Abuja
  4. The Minister congratulated Ahmed on his appointment, and charged him to pursue the on-going Reform Program with determination to succeed. The attainment of 48-Hour Clearance, he said, must be accorded priority as it represents a major plank of Government’s Policy
  5. The new Comptroller General promised to restore Professionalism in the Service, while ensuring Customs operatives strict adherence to the Rule of Law
  6. Hamman Bello Ahmed was born in Kojoli, Jada Local Government Area of Adamawa State. He had his early education in Jada Primary School from 1956-1963, and his Secondary School in Government Secondary School Ganye, 1965-1969. He proceeded to Government Secondary School, Bauchi in 1970 were he obtained WASC Advance Level. He immediately gained admission into Ahmadu Bello University Zaria to study History and Geography [French sub], and bagged B.A [comb] Hons in 1977
  7. At the completion of his NYSC program in 1978, the young Ahmed joined the Nigeria Customs Service as Superintendent Customs II now Assistant Superintendent I in 1978. He rose through the ranks, serving in different commands of the Service like Kano, Tin can Island, Valuation Unit and Customs headquarters
  8. He was promoted Assistant Comptroller- General of Customs in 2005, and posted to the Inspections and Inspectorate Unit, Customs Headquarters where he remained until the 27th of May 2008, when he was appointed Comptroller General
  9. His versatility in the Harmonized System, Customs Tariff and Classification has helped in blocking revenue leakages and recovery of lost revenue. In the process, he has won several National and International commendations and awards from Nigeria Customs Service and the World Customs Organisation
  10. Among his awards and commendations are:
    1. Service medal award for recovering of Customs Duty to the tune of about three hundred and sixty four million naira [N364, 000,000.00] during the Annual Comptroller General of Customs Conference held in Ibadan, Oyo State in 2002
    2. Certificate of commendation from the Honorable Minister of Finance
    3. Commendation letter from Societe Generale Du Surveillance [SGS] and Swede control/intertek [pre-shipment inspection companies]
    4. Commendation from the World Customs Organisation on the interpretation and application of the Harmonized System [HS] Nomenclature [tariff]
    5. Commendation letter from Comptroller – General Customs
    6. Certificate of attendance from the Regional Seminar on the Harmonized and Tariff Management Organized by the Customs Cooperation Councils
    7. Special commendation as Chairman of Special Ad-hoc Due Process Committee for Apapa Port 2005
  11. An unassuming but a thorough professional with a firm grip of the intriques of Customs administration , Hamman Bello Ahmed steps into the CGC’s office with a rich antecedent that fit the proverbial square peg in a square hole
  12. Married with children, the Comptroller-General loves to travel & read

MAY 30TH, 2006 PRESS RELEASE #5

Committee on port decongestion gives progress report. 
The Presidential Special Committee on Ports Decongestion is about rounding up the first phase of its assignment of removing overtime and contraband containers from the nations seaports.
This fact was disclosed by the Publicity Sub-Committee Chairman, Chief Chris Orode who stated that modalities for the disposal of all the affected containers are now being considered by the committee of the whole house. 
According to Chief Orode, all the affected containers are to be gazetted before an Open Public Biding is conducted simultaneously at all locations where the affected goods are kept.
He however stated that genuine importers with proper clearance documents are still encouraged to come forward and clear their goods as long as the affected goods are still in the Ports.
So far a total of 3364 containers have been transferred from the Western Ports to Ikorodu Lighter Terminal. All the containers are confirmed to have landed at the terminal contrary to reports of diversion in some section of the media. The committee therefore challenge anybody with any information contrary to this position to make them open. Out of the total number of containers at the Ikorodu Terminal, 3021 have been examined while another 68 are empty and one contained diplomatic cargo. In the course of these movements, five containers were found to have been wrongly transferred.
Presently, 193 containers are yet to be positioned for examinations while the remaining 76 could not be opened due to faulty locks.
In the Eastern Ports, no container was moved out of the port because there were no serious constraints of space inside the port. In Warri, a total of 146 containers are involved in the exercise. Out of these, 100 have already been examined by the Customs and the remaining 46 taken care of by the Committee on Decongestion.
In Port Harcourt, there are 103 containers that are affected in these exercise, while at Onne Port, there are 617 containers all of which have been examined. In Calabar Port, 516 containers that are on ground have all been examined.
The Committee wishes to re-ensure all Port users that no stone will be left unturned in its determined bid to decongest the Ports in a manner that is transparent and accountable.
Importers are also advised to take urgent and decisive action to clear their consignment from the Ports, as containers that stay beyond the dwelling time will still be moved to create the needed space in the Ports.

Chief Chris E. Orode FCA, MCILT. 
Chairman, Publicity Sub-Committee

OCTOBER 10TH, 2004 PRESS RELEASE #4

Grace period for additional goods recently placed on import prohibition under the 2005 fiscal policy measures.

  1. The attention of all Importers, Manufacturers, Bankers and the general public is hereby drawn to the list of additional goods placed on Import prohibition under the 2005 Fiscal Policy Measures
  2. In addition to the existing list, the new items placed under Import Prohibition are:
    1. Bird’s Egg
    2. Maize
    3. Cocoa Butter, Powder and Cakes
    4. Medicaments
    5. Disinfectants and Germicides
    6. Diaries
    7. Sanitary Wares of Plastics
    8. Greeting Cards
    9. Calendars
    10. Facial Tissue Towels and Sanitary articles
    11. Ladies Footware and Bags (Leather and Plastics)
    12. CKD Bicycles, Frames, Forks, Rims and Mudguards
    13. Electric Generator Sound-proof casing
    14. Hollow Glass Bottles of a capacity exceeding 150 mls (0.15 litres)
  3. To ensure a smooth transition and implementation of this order, the Federal Government of Nigeria has granted a grace period of 90 days for the clearance of the affected goods from the ports. This grace period which expires on Thursday the 30th of June 2005 is to enable all importers who have opened a “FormM” and must have entered into irrevocable trade agreements BEFORE the ban order to complete documentation and clearance of the goods out of the ports at the prevailing Import Duty Rates by the end of the grace period
  4. It must however be emphasized that the Grace Period is Strictly for clearance of goods and NOT for opening of fresh Letters of Credit. Importers are hereby warned that no request for clearance of goods for which letters of credits were opened during the grace period would be tolerated. In addition, importers are to note that these goods shall become banned from the date irrespective of when the letters of credit were opened or when trade agreements were reached, and shall be liable to seizure. Therefore, any good affected by the ban not cleared out of Customs control by 30th June 2005, will be seized and forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria


S.O. OGUNDEJI 
Deputy Comptroller General 
(Tariff & Trade) 
For: Comptroller-General of Customs

OCTOBER 10TH, 2004 PRESS RELEASE #3

Customs Promotes 6,489 Officers.

  1. A total of 6,489 Customs Officers and Men have been promoted to higher ranks following the Nigeria Customs Service Board approval of the promotion exercise conducted last year by the Service. Those promoted include 3,095 seniors and 2,394 junior officers
  2. The promotion exercise was based on the provision of the Scheme of Service which specifies clearly the criteria for promotion of eligible officers. One of the criteria is that of the minimum educational qualification which determines movement within and across the different cadres of the Service
  3. In this exercise, 79 junior officers who have attained the requisite academic qualifications were elevated from junior cadres to the superintendent cadre; while 16 Professionals from the Medicals, Accounts and Marine Units were advanced to higher ranks, having acquired higher educational qualifications in their chosen professions. 9 others in the Inspectorate cadre are to similarly enjoy lateral transfers to the Superintendent cadre
  4. Other criteria used in the promotion exercise include availability of establishment vacancies, annual performance evaluation, performance in the Promotion Interview and the Federal Character Principle
  5. The Comptroller-General congratulate all the beneficiaries of the promotion exercise and charge them to re-dedicate themselves to the success of the on-going Reform Agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria


ABUBAKAR MALAM
DCG (Corporate Services and Economic Relations)
For: Comptroller-General of Customs

OCTOBER 10TH, 2004 PRESS RELEASE #2

A special operation to be coordinated by Hamman Bello Ahmed has been inaugurated.

  1. Following the increasing wave of seizures of prohibited goods released from Apapa Ports and the desperate attempts by some unscrupulous Importers to remove large number of containers of contraband from the same port, the Nigeria Customs Service has directed a special operation to restore sanity in the port and ensure strict implementation of Government Fiscal Policies
  2. The special operation will be coordinated by Hamman Bello Ahmed, the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Investigation and Inspection, Customs Headquarters, Leading a team of 28 officers
  3. The term of reference of the team includes:
    1. Identifying and seizing all containers whose Importation /Exportation contravenes Government Fiscal Policies and frame charges against the importer /exporters of such goods, accordingly
    2. Enforcing due process in Customs Clearing in accordance with the extant import and export clearance procedure
    3. Re-establishing proper accounting, legal, warehousing and general enforcement procedure in Apapa Port
    4. Identifying officers who have served in the port for more than 2 years, or for two or more times in last six years, or those whose continued presence constitute impediments to the implementation of Government’s fiscal policy and reforms agenda
    5. Identifying Customs Units without proper authorization operating in the ports and reporting them for appropriate sanction
    6. Submitting weekly report of activities of the team to the Comptroller-General of Customs
  4. All Importers, Exporters, Customs Agents and other port users are enjoined to cooperate with the team to ensure speedy restoration of sanity and clearance of goods in accordance with laid down rules and procedures
  5. It must also be emphasized that those who are engaged in legitimate importations have nothing to fear as every effort will be made to ensure that innocent importers do not suffer any undue delay while the operation lasts

 

JACOB GYANG BUBA 
COMPTROLLER-GENERAL OF CUSTOMS

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