The Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto has lamented that despite the tough business terrain created by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) is bent on destroying the nation’s weak economy.
Farinto, in a press statement obtained by MMS Plus, highlighted several unfriendly and anti-business activities of Customs officials targeted at deliberately frustrating trade and cargo evacuation from the ports.
He noted that despite the numerous achievements made by the late Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi in Customs through modernization and engagement with relevant stakeholders to improve the service of Customs, the regime of the current CGC, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.) has not just remained static, but even retrogressed from the achievements by the previous Customs management team.
According to him, the World Bank’s logistics performance index (LPI) rating of Nigeria since the inception of Col Hammed Ali (Rtd), has continuously been bad.
Farinto added that Nigeria’s rating this year will not be favourable as NCS keeps flouting many international conventions which have been domesticated, for their gains in a bid to meet self-imposed targets via extortions. He also blamed Customs for arbitrarily charges, delays in cargo clearance, multiple alerts, ,reckless interception of containers after legitimate clearance, among other ills.
Meanwhile, he accused the Honorable Minister of Finance of evading her statutory responsibility, “We have put up letters on several occasions to demand clarifications on certain issues as regard import guidelines and these occasions, the ministry has failed to respond and where she does, is unable to put NCS on her toes to abide by instant law or directives or policy of the Federal Government.” He said.
He also faulted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for continuously dabbling into fiscal policies which by extension has been affecting the volume of importation into the country.
Moving forward, Farinto said: “It has been established that we need to rejuvenate the Federal Ministry of Finance by appointing another technocrat to move our economy forward and we need an honourable Minister of Finance that will able to supervise and direct the new management team of Nigeria customs service to be reconstituted. The first panacea to revamp our economy is to appoint a vibrant and versatile economist as Honourable Minister of Finance because the present one cannot move our economy forward post Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Federal Government must assist the economy if Nigeria will not be doomed economically, by appointing from the crop of intelligent young comptrollers that will move the economy forward and not amongst those that have not only eaten the forbidden fruits but infected by the current leadership in power. (Like in Covid-19 infection) we now have a situation where one individual is rated as the most powerful in the management of Customs as the Minister of Finance. We have a Comptroller General of Customs that is evasive, he sees no evil, hears no evil. How can he know what his men are doing on the field and when he eventually decides to see a part of the association he continues to defend the misdemeanors of his officers,” the ANLCA Vice President said.
He, however, urged the federal government to consider creating an efficient inter-modal transport system to assist the overburdened port access roads.