Posted by News Express | 25 June 2020 | 383 times
By TOLA ADEMUBI, Lagos
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) and its management team for lack of professionalism and unnecessary demand notices issued on import cargoes at the nation’s ports.
Speaking to maritime journalists on Thursday in Apapa, the Vice President of ANLCA, Mr Kayode Farinto alleged that since the present Customs management came on board, there has been arbitrary demand notices that have been slammed on imports, adding that Customs Agents now face several bottlenecks in the clearance of goods which is against the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.
He further alleged that there are so many intervention squads, including the Customs CG taskforce that intercepts consignment that has already been cleared in a commando form.
According to him “Government need to change the Customs management team now because we now lack professionalism at the ports except arbitrary demand notices that are slammed on importers. We now have a situation where consignment that has been released by the same Customs is been intercepted in a commando form.
“We now have too many interventions from Customs, even on consignment that has gone through examination. We all know the horrendous task we go through to examine a cargo. We do not have scanners at the ports, what Nigerian does is 100 per cent physical examination.
“After a set of containers have been examined inside the ports by Customs officers, we always have a situation where the CG taskforce will stop the same consignment outside the ports. They are always at Area B and mile 2. We have a compliance team of the same task force,
“Aside from CG Taskforce, we also have the Federal operation units team on the road. Recently, the Federal operation units smartly in the last one week now increase their unit and called another one SWAT as if we are in America. The full meaning of SWATT we do not know but you need to see the kind of hassles our members go through at night.
“The commando-style with which these units intercept containers that leaves the ports on Lagos roads leaves one wondering if we are in a military system of government.
Farinto who also doubles as a member of the board of Council of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CRFFN) lamented that in the last 48 hours, agents could not make declarations, stating that the Customs command is always given excuses of upgrading its system
” This team does what they like. In the last 24 hours, agents cannot make a declaration. They tell us that they are upgrading their system. which they have failed to upgrade over the weekend leading to Demurrage charges
“The big question is who pay the demurrage? The question is theoretical because it is the importers that pay and they transfer it to final consumers. It is unprofessional and uncalled for. Annoyingly, nobody detects them. I was the only one who detects them. I put a call to Abuja, there was no circular to the trading community, there was no circular to that effect, yet you are issuing out the arrival assessment report on the same HS code you have suspended.
“Agents believe that their leaders have been compromised. There is a need to rejuvenate the current Customs management team,” the CRFFN Board member lamented.
He urged the President to voluntary retire the CG and it’s the present management team and looks for a vibrant Assistant controller who will take over as the new Customs CG
“I want to suggest that from the rank of CG and DCGs, they should retire because they are tired. Let’s look for young vibrant assistance controller general or controller of Customs to become the CG of Customs. By the time you inject new blood, professionalism comes in, you have efficiency,” Farinto added
Farinto further informed that in the last four years the present CG and his managerial team has failed to call for a stakeholders meeting which had led to the way the customs officers behave. (Nigerian Tribune)
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