A frontline clearing agent, Osita Machie, has called on the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, to enshrine in the import tariff of the Nigeria Customs Service the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of all imported items into the country.
Machie who was speaking on the challenges faced by importers and their agents in the clearance process in Lagos, said that was the only way the seeming corruption permeating through the fabrics of the Service could be stopped.
He lamented the situation where the Service personnel issue different CIF value on the same consignment under same classification and value to agents because of personal relationship.
He said that such practice would not augur well for business in the country as it would affect market prices.
“The only thing that can stop corruption in Customs is for the Federal Ministry of Finance to enshrine Cost, Insurance and Freight in the tariff. It is not just for Customs to say that this item attracts 10 per cent and if I have long leg, I will give N1million, but if I don’t know anybody they will maximize N5million on the same item,” he said.
Machie who is also the Managing Director of Ossy Gold Agencies Limited expressed disapproval of Customs querying of the Pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) arguing that the Service had no basis whatsoever to query a document it issued on the mere excuse of under declaration by the importer.
“Customs go about issuing PAAR and querying same PAAR saying that they were querying it based on under declaration.
“Where were they when the PAAR was issued? They are supposed to be the custodian of HS Code; they should be able to know the content of each full container load,” he said.