Nigerian Customs Reports ₦1.3tn Loss Due To Buhari’s Waivers

The Nigeria Customs Service disclosed a loss of ₦1.3tn in 2023 attributed to waivers and concessions granted by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to investors. During a Senate hearing on the 2024–2026 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy, the Comptroller General, Adewale Adeniyi, represented by Deputy Comptroller General Mba Musa, revealed the lack of details regarding the Customs’ $3.2bn modernization project.

Senators inquired about the modernization project’s specifics, which had been approved by the Federal Executive Council in April 2023, despite a court order. The project was delegated to Bergman Securities Consultant and Suppliers Limited, Africa Finance Corporation UFC, and Huawei Technologies as the project sponsor, lead financier, and lead technical service provider, respectively. Critics expressed concerns about potential risks to national security and the service’s future.

Musa emphasized the Customs Service’s non-involvement in the modernization agreement details and highlighted the adverse impact of waivers and concessions on revenue generation. He stated, “NCS would have generated more revenue to the nation’s Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2023 if not for the waivers and concessions arrangements.”

Uncomfortable with this situation, Senator Musa, Chairman of the Joint Committee, announced the Senate’s intent to investigate the granting of waivers and concessions. He emphasized the need to review and consolidate revenue-generating measures, expressing concern about ongoing concessions that hinder economic vibrancy.

The Senate aims to scrutinize the waiver system, especially in sectors like cement manufacturing and sugar importation, with a view to making recommendations and ensuring the Customs Service meets its revenue targets without hindrance.