CEM REPORT, TRADE | To block revenue leakages and deter smuggling President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) Amendment Bill 2022.
The bill will see the federal government generate more revenue into its coffers from fines of different crimes up to ₦20 million.
The CEMA in its 64 years of existence had never been amended. This amendment comes after four attempts by the National Assembly.
The bill stipulates stiffer punishment and fines for smugglers, duty evaders and accomplices.
Some amendments in this bill include;
“Anybody who constructs or finances the construction of a route, tunnel or passageway that crosses the International border between Nigeria and another country, shall on conviction, be liable to a fine of ₦20 million or 20 years imprisonment or both.
“While any person who prevents or obstructs the arrest of an offender by customs officers is liable to five years imprisonment or N5 million fine or both.”
Section 230 (1) of the new law says: ”Any person who knowingly enters any goods upon payment of less than the amount of duty, excise taxes, or other taxes and fees legally due, shall be issued a Demand Notice of the difference with a penalty of 25 per cent of the duty liability.
The offence of false claims of import or export drawback attracts a fine of ₦5 million or five years imprisonment or both.
Concealment and wrong entry of goods by importers or their agents attract a jail term of three years or a fine of six times the true value of revenue lost and forfeiture of the items smuggled.
Part XXX, which dwells on the ‘Central Operational Powers, Customs Offences,’ stipulates a ₦5 million fine for any shipmaster who fails to provide the needed documents and papers as demanded by the customs officer or refuses to answer any question.
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Those failing to adhere to the regulations by the Customs in terms of inspection of such goods are to pay a fine of ₦1.5 million with such goods liable to forfeiture.
According to the bill, importers and exporters of stolen vehicles, aircraft or ship risks two years of imprisonment or a fine of ₦2 million or both.
Experts have continued to call on the federal government to create an enabling and seamless trade environment in the country through the reduction of high tariffs of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) crippling trade and promoting smuggling.
They opine that this will abate the thoughts of smuggling and duty invasion