A bill to empower the Nigeria Customs Service to carry out electronic transactions scaled second reading on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.
This followed the presentation of the lead debate on the general principles of the bill by the sponsor, Senator Francis Alimikhena (PDP-Edo) during the plenary.
The bill is entitled “A bill for an Act to repeal the Customs and Excise Management Act, CAP. C45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and to enact an Act to establish the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2021”.
Alimikhena who is Chairman Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs said that the bill was read the first time on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
He said that the proposed bill sought to bring the Customs and Excise Management Act in line with modern-day reality.
The senator said an analysis of the CEMA conducted in 2009 found the law to be severely lacking with respect to the World Customs Organisation’s Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).
He said that as it was, the Act did not contain provisions to support the use of electronic documents, signatures and electronic payment as well as application of risk management.
Alimikhena said, “It also does not contain provisions of other information technology that are applicable to the modern Customs administration.”
He further said that another important shortfall of the Customs and Excise Management Act was that it did not legally provide for the establishment of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Alimikhena said that the bill when passed would empower the service to be at par with international standards and to enhance the protection of society against smuggling, illegal weapons, narcotics and counterfeit goods among others.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Customs, Exersice and Tariff for further legislative action. They are to report back in four weeks.