By Gboyega Oni
The unnecessary interference of multiple Customs units in the clearance of cargo from the ports to its final destination may jeopardise and make it unrealistic the recent Executive Orders on the ease of doing business in the nation’s ports.
President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu stated this at a meeting between the leadership of ANLCA and the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) in Abuja past week.
He said customs agents were ever determined to assist the Nigeria Customs Service in raising its revenue collection but officers and men of the Service have constituted themselves as a stumbling block and never ready to give the necessary cooperation to customs agents.
Shittu, who told Ali various operational challenges being faced by his members, said all customs licensed agents had resolved to work with the Comptroller General with a view to keying into the executive orders of the Federal Government, to facilitate trade and ease of doing business in Nigeria.
He noted that the revenue collection of the Service would have witnessed tremendous improvement were it not for the uncooperative attitude of officers and men of the Service to customs agents who could have given them useful imformation that could assist the Service in raising the level of its revenue collection.
In compliance with extant regulations of cargo clearance and trade facilitation, Shittu sought the intervention of the Customs boss in ensuring that customs officers adhere strictly to laid down standard operational procedures in cargo clearance at the ports and border stations, in compliance with World Customs Organization’s established conventions.
He also pleaded with the CGC to implore his officers, especially those in the field, to positively change their attitudes, in order to facilitate trade across international borders, without compromising the security and revenue accruable to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
ANLCA President promised the CGC that they would not do anything otherwise, than to be compliant with extant rules and regulations of cargo clearance.
Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), in his response, said all the challenges being faced by the customs agents would be resolved, promising to collaborate with the ANLCA to understudy the various challenges, so as to remove all the problems associated with delay in cargo delivery and blocking revenue leakages.
The CG was said to have issued a directive for the study of the challenges.