By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate has begun a probe into alleged economic wastes at the Warehouses of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS.
It also resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate what it described as ongoing monumental wastes in these areas.
The Committee is expected to advise the Senate on the next line of action.
Resolution of the Senate was sequel to a motion by Senator Mohammed Hassan, PDP, Yobe South, entitled, “Urgent need to investigate and curtail the ongoing monumental economic waste at the Nigerian Customs Service.”
Presenting the notion, Senator Hassan said: “The Senate notes with great displeasure reports showing that the Nigerian Customs Service currently has in its warehouses loads of seized perishable goods of high economic value. These includes food items, goods obviously seized from commercial traders;
“It acknowledges that it is the duty of the customs service to ensure that contraband goods do not make their way into the Nigerian market through illegal importation.
“Observes that this objective is to develop the Nigerian market and avoid Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for contraband items. This is to ensure economic efficiency, growth and development.”
“Further notes that the objective is fully defeated if it leads to hardship, inefficiency, waste and destruction of value. A reason the custom service in the past had adopted the practice of auctioning these items for a more efficient use of the ceased goods especially with the high level of economic hardship that our people are facing at the moment;
“Observes that this practice denies the offenders the benefit of the economic value of the items and ensures that the countries value in the transaction is not completely destroyed as a result;
“Notes that these reports indicate that the Customs warehouses in Kano, Kastina, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Western Marine Lagos, Eastern Marine Port Harcourt and Zone C Federal operations Owerri and Port Harcourt are currently filled with these seized perishable items and rotting away at great cost to the economy, our people and the nation in general;
“Notes with dismay that these items which ought to have been kept for only for a short interval are now being kept for so long in the Custom’s warehouses, amounting to large economic waste;
“Notes that prior to now, these goods when seized are auctioned off by the customs to the general public. However, these auctions are rarely done in recent times and these reports show that the custom warehouses are brimming with spoiled or almost spoiled goods while people are dying of hunger;
“Observes that in these desperate times when hunger is prevalent in the country, the public auctions ought to be done more efficiently to help alleviate the hunger situation rather than have these goods waste away in badly stored conditions at these warehouses;
“Observes that it is also not in the general interest of our economy to contain these wastes, hence the need for customs to decongest its warehouses and turn these wastes to useful gain for the Nigerian people.”
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