Everything is slow but the Comptroller General (CG) is doing his job. He has come to play his own part to carry out instructions from the President who assigned him to sanitize the Customs so that the right thing is done, which is the collection of due revenue to the federal government. So every officer is taking his time so that he won’t fall a victim as a result of this clear directive. So the officers don’t play pranks right now. If you do that, your job is at risk and so it is to any importer or agent. Everybody has buckled up right now. There is a clear distinction of what they do, whether it involves customs or clearing agents. Everybody knows the rules now. There is a wind of change which requires that due process must be followed. That is what is going on right now. There is a clear directive from the presidency that they must do their job and must not delay any job that has been processed duly and all the necessary revenue collected for government. Once the proper thing is done, your job is not delayed.
There is a wind of change and we are beginning to see the change. One of the main reasons for the slow pace of work is reduction in importation because of all these policies put in place by the government. Even if you clear your goods from the port, to deliver to the warehouse is a problem because of the changes on road transportation. The roads itself are in very poor condition. All these things must be put in place before we can actualize smooth clearance of goods. The Comptroller General is trying at least he has created fear in the mind of the officers. Unlike before, the officers are no longer working with impunity; nobody wants to be made a scapegoat. There is sanity now and it has made clearance fast.
Business is dull, trucks charges out of reach, everything seems to have no particular direction even the core implementation of the CGC policy thrust appears blurred and vision less. We have not seen anything yet probably he is still studying the ground but it appears that trade facilitation, fast tracking of cargo movement might take back stage as far as Customs has not deemed it fit to publish an empirical and transparent data base accessible to all based on international best practices. The current Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy has also affected importation generally. The squeeze on foreign exchange transaction has made the volume of cargo coming in drop drastically.
Not really. This slow pace of activities at the various Customs commands might be as a result of the slowing down of the economy due to some fiscal and monetary policies of the government that have impeded access to foreign liquidity to importers to bring in goods into the country. This coupled with the new man at the helm of affairs in the Customs who will need time to really understand the nitty gritty of Customs operations might also be responsible for this unfortunate quagmire.
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