National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu has condemned the interception of already cleared containers on the highway by operatives of the Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Speaking on Monday when he led some ANLCA national executives to the FOU, Zone ‘A’ headquarters in Lagos, Shittu said the arrest of containers on the highway does not speak well of the image of Customs but also of clearing agents.
He said although the unit relies on information to intercept consignments that may have contravened importation guidelines, erring containers can be tracked and trailed to their destination rather than interception on the highway.
He noted that while Customs enforce government fiscal policies, clearing agents have the responsibility to implement such policies.
“Mutually beneficial partnership is a sine qua non, as critical stakeholders in the cargo clearance sub-sector of the economy. Stopping cargoes in transit on the highways does incalculable damage to the image of Customs, as well as that of the agents. Therefore, best bet is, track and trail such consignments to its destination, and act from there,” Shittu said
He therefore appealed to the acting Controller of the unit, Comptroller Usman Turaki to curtail the ‘overzealousness’ of his officers in order to facilitate trade at the nation’s seaport, airport and land borders.
Concerning the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) document, the ANLCA chieftain said it is unfortunate that Customs now sees PAAR as an advisory rather than a final document for clearance of goods at the port because of dishonest declaration of importers.
Responding, Turaki expressed appreciation to the collaboration enjoyed by the unit and the association especially its support for PAAR since inception.
On interception of containers on the highway, Turaki maintained that operatives of the unit only complement effort of officers in ensuring that that there is total compliance with the fiscal policies of the federal government on importation.
He said the unit is faced with the challenge of combating smugglers. He sought the cooperation and support of the association in its responsibility of suppressing smuggling adding that his officers need encouragement and new tactics to confront the smugglers.
While congratulating the ANLCA boss on the forthcoming commissioning of the association’s permanent secretariat, Turaki said his doors are open to receive complaints from his area of operation.
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