COVID-19: Customs agents tell FG to cut down customs revenue target

Elder Oluwole Obe, (1st, right), Chairman of ANLCA PTML Chapter and other personalities at the event

…demand stoppage of database on vehicle clearance at PTML  

By Adegboyega Oni

Customs agents have appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to drastically cut down the N2 trillion revenue target given to the Nigeria Customs Service to ensure performance and minimize pressure on the Customs Service in view of the economic impact of the Coronavirus on shipping activities globally.

The customs agents also described the use of database on imported vehicles price (Ex-factory) adopted by the Nigeria Customs Service, PTML Port Command, Lagos, to determine and issuance of values for vehicles as fraudulent and unacceptable.

The customs agents under the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA PTML Chapter) noted that the customs authority did not consult them before the adoption of the database, rejected it and called for review of the ex-factory prices of vehicles with their active participation.  

This was contained in a communiqué issued by the ANLCA PTML Chapter at a recent stakeholders’ meeting it organized to review cargo clearance operations in the port.

Worried by indiscriminate alerts, the ANLCA PTML Chapter called on the customs authority to harmonize all the alerts into one to pave way for cargoes to leave the port without unnecessary delays and the Enforcement unit should stop requesting Grimaldi to block releases since customs agents had made payments on invoices.

The customs agents expressed dismay over multiple Police checkpoints around PTML and its environs while using the opportunity to extort customs agents and technicians working on non-functioning vehicles exiting the ports.

‘’It has become obvious worldwide that COVID-19 (Force Majeure) has affected virtually every aspect of life of humans around the globe. Consequently, an appeal went to the Federal Government and Nigeria Customs Service to drastically review downwards the N2 trillion revenue target given to Customs in order to ensure performance and minimize pressure on Nigeria Customs Service.

‘’This is because at the time of setting of N1.5T revenue targets for Customs by the Federal Government of Nigeria, COVID-19’s negative impact on world economies was not envisaged. This target was uplifted to N2 trillion by the Customs General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) without taking cognizance of the disruptive Force Majeure of COVID-19. Therefore, a plea has gone to the federal government and the Comptroller General of Customs to reconsider these targets, and come down to reality,’’ said the communiqué.

The customs agents accused the management of Grimaldi, the managers of PTML Port, for colluding with the PTML Customs Command in formulating directives targeted at them while the representatives of Grimaldi at the meeting assured the agents that the Grimaldi management would look into their complaints.

Mr Sunday Charles Nwarinme (in red), Vice Chairman, ANLCA PTML Chapter and other members of the chapter at the stakeholders’ meeting

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