The earlier complaints by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) about the operational activities of the Nigeria Customs Service engendered the interactive meeting between the duo at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.
The meeting which comprised of the management staff of the Nigeria Customs and the National Executive Committee (NECOM) / Board of Trustee Members and the Heads of Customs Intelligence Units (CIUs) saw a frantic discussion which lasted for about an hour.
Expatiating on the letter were Dayo Azeez, Prince Taiye Oyeniyi, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, Emenike Nwokeoji and Chief Henry Njoku and at the end of the highly interactive and frank discussion, the following resolutions were established:
The complaints about the interference with cargo clearance and subsequent releases by the CIU need to be addressed urgently as they are however expected to witness examinations and report their findings to the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC) and to the headquarters.
On the issue of indiscriminate alerts, it was agreed that it was necessary to place alert on some imports whose values are found to be ridiculously low. The alerts are meant to guide field officers, in the examination and release of such alerted cargoes. The Customs high command has resolved to harmonize these alerts, in such a way that multiple queries on a single airport will be minimized.
Timing and scheduling for cargo processing arising from unnecessary delays in cargo clearance, Customs management is to come up with the timing of every process in cargo delivery.
On the issue of discipline among Customs officers, the CGC announced that 52 officers have been dismissed from the service due to corruption even as he said every plea for leniency fell on deaf ears, as it was meant to serve as a note of warning to others, to sit up or get sacked.
Speaking on the Oil and Gas zone, the CGC promised to train officers especially for the zone, to take care of the peculiar nature of the cargo clearance there.
The 25% penalty added to Demand Notices (DN) in wrong declarations, which is tantamount to smuggling, attracts six times the CIF, according to CEMA as penalty. Customs are only being magnanimous by pegging penalty at 25%. However, a review downwards is underway, as pleaded for by ANLCA.
On Pre-Arrival Assessment report (PAAR), the CGC maintained that only non-compliant cargoes find fault with the operation of PAAR in the ports while pleading that by now, all present at the meeting grew up together with him, step up their game and stop complaining about the operations of PAAR.
National President of ANLCA- Prince Olayiwola Shittu, pleaded that the training sponsored by Customs, should be sustained, as its positive effects is already manifesting fast, to put customs brokers on the same page with custom officers, such that the compliance level will automatically rise, thereby raising the revenue accruable to the Federation’s account.
He pleaded that Customs Licensed Agencies should be profiled, just like MAN was profiled. This is to enable licensed agents enjoy fast track scheme, especially for compliance cargo clearance agencies licenses, over a period of time.
On the request that the CGC assist the Agents’ association benefit from revenue generated, the CGC said he has already written to appropriate quarters, for it to be considered. This was applauded by custom brokers, as a big step in the right direction to achieving more revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria.