Area Controller, Tin Can Island Port command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Bashir Yusuf has charged members of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to always ensure they sign indemnity forms with importers before embarking on cargo clearance.
Speaking against the backdrop of recent seizures at the command, Bashar harped on the need for agents to always maintain integrity and transparency in their cargo clearance.
“A customs broker in the 21st century must endeavour to sign an agreement (indemnity form) with the importer based on documents XYZ as submitted by the importer, he will sign and the importer would sign.
“Recently, we seized 214, 732 kilograms of cocaine substance in one container; the clearing agent was the first point of contact in that seizure because he is a documented approved clearing agent.
“According to the CEMA (Customs and Excise Management Act), he is the importers representative so he is taking upon himself two burdens.
“So if there are cases like that, the freight forwarder should have transparent dealings in all his operations. It is not the agent that chooses cargo for the importer, he is not the one who shipped the cargo, but his job is to receive the cargo here based on the document given to him by the importer,” the Area Controller told visiting President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, who paid a courtesy call to the command yesterday.
Bashir also advised the leadership of the association on the need to train its members to embrace exportation of agricultural products in order to earn much-needed foreign foreign exchange for the country.
He said that machinery meant for agricultural produce attracts zero duty in order to encourage Nigerians to go into export.
While highlighting the important role of clearing agents, the Customs boss said they are among those sustaining the Nigerian economy in the face of prevailing economic recession.
He commended the Tin Can Chapter Chairman of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan, describing him as a worthy partner who has proved his worth by partnering the Customs in rebuilding the image and integrity of the Tin can port.
Speaking earlier, Prince Shittu assured the Customs boss that ANLCA under his watch would continue to partner the command in realising its revenue target.
Shittu pleaded with the Compt. Bashar to direct his officers to always treat promptly genuine complaints and challenges encountered by ANLCA members in the course of clearing their cargoes.
“We are just here on a courtesy visit to appreciate the work you are doing, and to assure you that our association would never condone fraudulent activities, Machine Outside (fraud) or whatever names you call it from any member, integrity is a must.
“However, when we have genuine problems, please tell your officers to assist, as much as we want to comply, we want your officers to also help us in our compliance,” Shittu stated.
He acknowledged that there have been positive reports from the command, which he said was once branded most ‘notorious’ among other commands of the NCS.
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