The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is currently considering a Bill to abolish the fifty-eight-year-old Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) and five other Customs & Excise Laws. The Bill which is currently at the committee stage of the legislative process, seeks to enact a new Customs and Excise Act to establish the Nigeria Customs Service and restructure the administration and management of customs and excise in Nigeria.
Stakeholders have overtime called for major reforms in the customs and excise space, with many viewing CEMA as the fundamental problem with administration and management of customs and excise in Nigeria. Based on the revenue potential from customs and excise, it comes as no surprise that the current administration is urgently pressing for reforms in this space.
The Bill consists of twenty-five parts and two schedules, with major changes seen in the following areas:
- Penalties for violation of customs and excise laws: The proposed Bill significantly increases penalties for violations. It is argued that stiff penalties for infractions would help enforce compliance by traders.
- Alignment with global best practice: The proposed Bill adopts global best practices on trade facilitation, trader reviews and dispute resolution.
We will continue to monitor developments on the subject and update you as more information becomes available.