Nigeria lost N1.3trn in 2023 through waivers under Buhari’s administration — Customs

Adewale Adeniyi, the comptroller general (CG) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says waivers and concessions granted to investors by the administration of Muhammadu Buhari, the former president, cost the country N1.3 trillion.

Adeniyi said customs would have generated more income for Nigeria’s consolidated revenue fund in 2023 without the waivers and concession arrangements.

The CG said this at the national assembly on Wednesday during a public hearing on the 2024–2026 medium-term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy by the senate joint committees.

Adeniyi, represented by Mba Musa, the deputy comptroller general, said “the NCS lost N1.3 trillion in 2023 due to waivers and concessions the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration granted to investors”.

The revelation led Sani Musa, the chairman of the joint committee, to request the Senate probe the waivers and concessions granted by the previous administration.

“By now, we shouldn’t be talking about concessions for cement manufacturers; we should not even be talking about sugar importation,” Sani Musa said.

“We should not deny ourselves the revenues that we should generate to make our economy vibrant. By now, we should be consolidating on waivers given to boost revenues.

“We would review the waivers and make our recommendations. By now, you (NCS) should be meeting up on your projected target if there are no waivers.”

The senate also quizzed the NCS on its modernisation project, known as e-customs.

During the hearing, the senators asked for the details of the agreement signed by the federal government on the modernisation of Nigerian customs.

In response, Adeniyi said the service does not have access to details of the $3.2 billion modernisation project agreement.

“We are not privy to details of modernisation agreement of the Nigeria Customs modernisation project,” he said.

In April, the federal executive council approved the customs’ modernisation project.

The approval was made despite a court order restraining the federal government from going on with the initiative.

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