The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has faulted the N1trillion revenue target set by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali had on Monday in Abuja announced that while the NCS had not been given any target yet by the Budget Office of the Federation, it had set a 2016 revenue target of N1trillion for itself.
But the association, speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Kayode Farinto, said given the economic realities in the country, the target will be a pipe dream.
He said, “Customs do not need a soothsayer to tell them they cannot meet the target vis-a-vis the policies of government in place.
“If they are given N1trillion target for 2016 knowing full well that importation has declined, does it not mean that facilitation of trade will be jettisoned?
“With what is on ground, Customs do not need to set any target. How can they set a target for an economy that is already in comatose?
“That means they will want to go the extra mile to meet the target by arm twisting Nigerians and jettisoning trade facilitation.
“Customs in the last 7 years have been making sure that they block all revenue loopholes. Which loophole do they want to block now? Are they saying since there are no loopholes to block now they want to bounce back on importers who legitimately imported their consignment? Do they want to be issuing debit note at will just to meet the target?”
Farinto noted that the restriction of foreign exchange has affected imports as many customs brokers could not open form ‘M’, adding that the government recently barred importers from foreign exchange money from bureau de change.
Such actions, he said are counter-productive because “if you go to the banks to source foreign exchange you may either not be able to source or there would be a limit to the amount you can source”.
Farinto said ANLCA has presented a draft bill for indigenization of customs brokerage practice in Nigeria.
He said the move has become imperative following the overbearing dominance of foreign companies who he said have been taking over the jobs of customs brokers in the country.
He said, “You cannot go to Cotonou or Ghana as a Nigerian and say you want to clear a consignment out of the port, it is not possible.
“It is only in Nigeria here you have Lebanese, Indians having licenses as Customs brokers.
“It is not done anywhere in the world. So we felt we need to do an indigenization of Customs brokerage. ANLCA has been handling this in the last four months.”
He said when the bill is finally passed into law, it will prevent non-Nigerians from practicing as customs brokers at the port.
He added that the proposed bill will not in any way jeopardize the Act establishing the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
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