NRS: Tinubu Should Excuse Customs From Proposed Merger Arrangements With NIMASA, FIRS – Jacob Idinye

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High Chief Jacob Egietseme Idinye

High Chief Jacob Egietseme Idinye has called on President Bola Tinubu to jettison the idea of merging Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigerian Customs Service, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency into the Nigerian Revenue Service (NRS).

Idinye a seasoned media personality who has been covering maritime beat for over two decades highlighted the challenges the advise given to the President by the Economic Policy Advisory Council could face, hence he called for necessary amends in the interest of the nation.

The award winning maritime media expert pressed home these concerns as a critical stakeholder in the sector in an interview he had with some selected journalists including in Abuja on Sunday, June 18, 2023.

According to him: “It would be disingenuous for anyone to merge a paramilitary organization like the Nigerian Customs Service with Federal Inland Revenue Service, and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency into the Nigerian Revenue Service. Customs purely operates under World Customs Organization (WCO) just like any other civilized countries. They also wear uniforms and are trained to carry firearms, just like other sister security agencies like the Police, DSS, Immigration, NSCDC etc.

“For clarity, the NCS has its job well spelt out under the law and they include, to reduce the rate of smuggling and economic sabotage, to perform National Security and intelligence functions, to ensure standardization and consumer safety, licensing and registration of Customs Agents, to promote unity between Nigeria and other nations, generation of revenue, assists in the processing of manifest for ease of either imports or exports. It also plays a role in working towards ensuring the availability of statistics for planning and budgetary purposes, engages in research, planning, and enforcement of fiscal policies of the Government, etc, according to Vera City Desk.

“Those advising the government should do a quick introspection and make necessary amends in the proposed policy by completely expunging Customs from their earlier consideration. Meanwhile Mr. President should beware of bad company around him and resist any temptation to get him to act outside the constitution and be undemocratic. The National Assembly should also be guided should it receive any Bill that attempts to promote such obnoxious legislation.

“They must also note that the ammendment to the Customs Excise Management Act (CEMA) is now a policy document that was just signed by the former President, it could only be improved on, not outrighy discountenaced. Moreover, Customs reports directly to the finance Ministry or directly to the President in some instances.” Idinye noted.

It would be recalled that last week President Tinubu’s Economic Policy Advisory Council recommended the declaration of a state of emergency on revenue generation in the country.

It also in its advisory role proposed the merger of the FIRS, NIMASA, NCS, into the Nigerian Revenue Service in order to enable an efficient collection of all direct and indirect taxes, as well as levies on behalf of the Federal Government.

It further added that the policy will be aided by the passage of an Emergency Economic Reform Bill which will grant the President special powers to drive the economic reform agenda and support the delivery of sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

However, whilst Idinye agreed that the NRS policy may be good for the country to some extent, especially in the areas of optimization of operating expenditure, curtailing of leakages and capacity to boost revenue, he cautioned that the Nigerian Customs Service should be excused from the proposed merger plans.

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