Customs CG’s Ignorance Detrimental To Trade Facilitation In Nigeria – Akabogu

Customs CG's Ignorance Detrimental To Trade Facilitation In Nigeria - Akabogu
Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd.)

By Kenneth Jukpor

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) has been accused of poor leadership at the Service with ignorance on core global and regional trade polices.

This is coming on the heels of Ali’s recent advice against World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement during a presentation before the Nigerian Senate, last week.

A frontline Maritime lawyer, Mr. Emeka Akabogu, has described Ali’s advice as a shocking development that epitomizes his ignorant leadership style at the Service.

The maritime lawyer posited that the shock of Ali’s incredulous advice is matched only by the reasons for his position which is that it will negatively impact revenue generation.

Akabogu words; “Col. Hameed Ali’s theory is that if the Trade Facilitation Agreement is implemented to ease current challenges being faced in import and export of goods, customs revenue will drop, so better not to implement the reforms.”

“This may explain why the Nigerian Customs Service seems to have abandoned any pretenses it used to have towards trade facilitation. Nigeria used to have scanners for inspection of imports, but the Customs took them over from private operators and decommissioned them, now relying on 100% manual inspection of all imports. Advance rulings, post-clearance audits and single window systems are not in operation, despite billions spent. A new Customs and Excise Management Act was even drafted and passed by the National Assembly to make many progressive measures of the TFA legally binding, but it was never signed into law. Nigerian borders have been closed to goods for the last one year, resulting in many bankruptcies and commercial debts.”

The veteran lawyer recalled Martin Luther King Jr. famous quotes which says, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance”, noting that these words echoed in his mind as he listened to the Comptroller General of Customs.

“The foundation for this de facto policy of border brigandage is founded on ignorance. 90% of local manufacturing is dependent on imports of machinery and raw materials. Border closure and customs restrictions are a dagger in the heart of jobs, production and exports from manufacturing. With an efficient monitoring mechanism through single window systems, customs earnings will multiply tenfold, and so will efficiency. I suspect the customs officials know all these – they are very enlightened and play key roles at the World Customs Organisation,” he said.

Akabogu also expressed regret that the Service has become content with the strategy of conducting 100% manual inspection to raise arbitrary debit notes, interface physically with importers and clearing agents; as it pays to appear ignorant.

Check Also

ANLCA Commends Bello Koko Over Return Of Sanity On Ports Access Roads

ANLCA Commends Bello Koko Over Return Of Sanity On Ports Access Roads

  The Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello KoKo has received commendation from …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× Get News Alert