The Federal Government yesterday said it granted N342 billion waivers to importers in the last two years.
Speaking at the second phase of a one-day sensitisation seminar on the Automated Import Duty Exemption Certificate at the Nigeria Customs Training College, Ikeja, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, also urged importers to embrace the automated Import Duty Exemption Certificate (IDEC) as part of measures to promote trade and enhance ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports.
Ahmed who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Aliyu Ahmed, described the digitisation process of import duty exemption as a way to eliminate corruption, save time and promote transparency.
According to the minister, the scope of waiver request is expanding hence, there is need to have modern technology to drive the administration.
She said: “Approximately N341.94 billion worth of waivers was granted from August 2017 to August 2019. The scope of such waiver request are expanding; hence the need to have in place modern technology to drive its administration.”
The minister further highlighted the importance of the modernised process as being in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the importation sector.
She said the automated gateway portal for IDEC processing and issuance has been in operation since April 1, 2020, on the www.idec.gov.ng domain, stressing that manual applications are no longer accepted
The minister added that the bottlenecks associated with import duty exemption and related sharp practices would be eradicated by the new procedure.
“The kernel of the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, (FMFBNP) is the overall fiscal management of our national economy. One critical incentive which the FMFBNP provides, in line with extant laws, rules, regulation and executed international protocols, is the issuance of import/customs duties certificates to applicants.
“Up until March 2020, we processed the grant of the IBEC incentives manually. This process was quite cumbersome, tedious, time consuming, and was beset with undue human interface, with its attendant challenges”, she said.
She added that the automated process, in line with the Ministry’s Strategic Revenue Growth (SRG) initiative would improve the revenue profile of the government by blocking leakages, stop apparent financial losses associated with the process, standardise and simplify the process, as well as ensuring effective monitoring, evaluation and tracking.
Also speaking at the event Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, said the new platform will eradicate trade-related vices such as impersonation and forgeries of signatures in the importation process.
Ali who was represented by Assistant Comptroller General and Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone A, Katherine Chinwe Ekekezie also said the automation will boost investors confidence and make for easy detection of all forms of illegalities.