In a recent development, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has announced that it has deactivated two banks for their failure to remit duties collected as required by law. The NCS clarified that this action was taken in response to the banks’ non-compliance with their duty collection obligations and that discussions with relevant financial authorities are underway to resolve the issue.
The National Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Chief Superintendent of Customs Abdullahi Maiwada, stated that the NCS had reported the erring banks to the necessary financial authorities, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and discussions are currently ongoing among all parties involved to find a resolution.
Last Friday, The PUNCH had reported that the acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, ordered the deactivation of certain banks due to their failure to remit duties they had collected.
When pressed for details regarding the number of banks affected and the specific amount of duties left unpaid, Maiwada declined to disclose the monetary value involved. However, he confirmed that two Deposit Money Banks were affected by the deactivation.
Maiwada explained, “For the defaulting banks, they are two. As for the steps being taken apart from blacklisting the banks, it should be noted that before even blacklisting them, we had a thorough engagement with them. We are also in discussion with the banks, and I think that last week, we arrived at a very reasonable conclusion, and they are ready to oblige and do the needful. So very soon, they will be back on track. The banks are two of them.”
Responding to inquiries about whether the NCS had informed the CBN about the banks’ infractions, Maiwada stated, “We are engaging with the relevant systems, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, to make sure that these things are resolved. However, it must be noted that the essence of that press release was not to bring down or tarnish the reputation of any bank.”
He added, “The essence was to sympathize with importers who were affected by the situation and the way out for traders who do not have any reason to suffer because of the inadequate or lack of competence of a particular institution.”
This move by the Nigerian Customs Service highlights the government’s commitment to ensuring that all financial institutions operating in the country adhere to their regulatory obligations. The ongoing discussions between the NCS, CBN, and the affected banks suggest that a resolution may soon be reached to address the issues at hand and prevent any further disruptions to importers and traders.