License customs agents and freight forwarders operating at the nation’s seaport and border post may now heave a sigh of relieve as they will no longer be held liable for irregularities such as concealment or false declarations made by importers.
Deputy Controller in charge of Information Communication Technology (ICT) at the Customs headquarters, Abuja Yusuf Bashar who dropped this hint during the awareness campaign on the use of the Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and the Nigeria Trade hub at the Tin Can Island port command last Tuesday stated that agents who hitherto had suffered injustice due to cases of concealment and false declaration on the part of their importers will no longer face such unfairness when such importer is apprehended.
“You are the importers representative and you operate base on what the bill of lading said to contain. We don’t know the importer, it is you we know but you will no longer be made to suffer what you don’t know so long you produce the importer” Bashar stated.
He urged the agents to be transparent and always give honest declarations by avoiding any alteration of the import documents.
He said based on integrity, the Service has compiled names of genuine licensed agency on its trade hub even as he requested that agents make available their email and phone numbers also to be imputed in the hub to enable intending importers contact the right agency.
“We recommended all the names of the agencies on the trade hub to every Nigerian embassy even in China, we told them ‘once it is on the national trade hub, it is confirmed to be good by the Nigerian government’, and so it is left for you know to prove what we have said” Bashar stated.
Meanwhile, the awareness campaign at the command witnessed low turnout of stakeholders. This has however continued to raise doubts on the Service readiness to take over the destination inspection regime and carry the importing public who constitute its major stakeholders along.