- Says 30% of Customs revenue, proceeds of non-compliance
By Ray Ugochukwu
The National President, Association of National Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike, says the recent setting up of the group’s Compliance Team was to tackle the excesses of port agencies and stakeholders that inhibit smooth cargo clearance at the nation’s ports.
He gave the explanation on Friday while flagging off the team at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa, Lagos, where he regrettably observed that 30 per cent of the revenue generated by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was through non-compliance.
Nwabunike enumerated such non-compliance as under-declaration of goods, under-valuation, false declaration, deliberate application of wrong Harmonized System (HS) Code, all in a bid to evade accurate duty payment and outright smuggling. He said all these malpractices had given rise to seizure of goods and arrests of perpetrators.
Consequently, he disclosed that to stem these, Customs would resort to several interventionist methods like the issuance of Demand Notices (DN), among others, to recover lost revenue.
The pioneer Chairman, Governing Board, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), however, took a swipe at the Customs for violating the principles of the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), which aims at promoting international trade by eliminating barriers.
He accused the agency of impeding trade by its establishment of sub-groups such as the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Strike Force, Customs Police and the like, whom he accused of chasing about released goods on the highway.
ANLCA boss wondered why these sub units should be intercepting containers all in a bid to repeat the processes which the same Customs had carried out in the ports.
He also did not spare the Police departments, accusing them of waylaying certified containers for arrest, thereby causing avoidable delays and increasing cost of doing business.
He therefore charged the newly inaugurated Alhaji Lamin Aliyu-led Compliance Team to spare no efforts in ensuring that these evil practices, militating against trade, were checkmated on all sides, importers (agents) and government agencies alike.
In his acceptance speech, Alhaji Aliyu thanked the President for finding him worthy to lead the team and vowed to stamp out non-conformity in the system and to ensure that agents and stakeholders alike complied to trade laws and regulations.
ANLCA also used the occasion to fill up two positions that had remained vacant in the last three years with the appointment of Alhaji Femi Anifowoshe and Mazi Ibekwe Nnamdi as the Zonal Coordinator and Secretary of the Western Zone respectively. The appointees were immediately sworn in.
The President charged the new officials to be the best examples of their offices in order to keep showing people the right way.