National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, has said that the association did not do a volte-face over its clamour for re-introduction of the benchmark policy by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Prince Shittu said that his association supported the policy since its introduction in 2012.
“ANLCA happens to be the only association that worked with the Nigeria Customs Service to introduce benchmark on vehicles. The Nigeria Customs Service has been using benchmark before now considerately. That is why when you go to the valuation unit they look beyond the under-declaration that some people make. Value for cargo should not be a hidden thing at all. This is why the Minister (of Finance) now directed Customs to work out benchmark on imports,” the ANLCA National President said while speaking via telephone on Monday on Ships & Ports morning radio programme on Radio Nigeria (Radio One 103.5FM), Lagos.
He said implementation of the benchmark policy, which was suspended a few weeks after it was introduced in May 2012, would aid transparency and prompt goods clearance at the port.
“If you are bringing a cargo from America or from England, the bottom line is you should know how much you are going to pay. The importer knows how much to pay. Benchmark will remove that anomaly that leads to extortion.
“I can tell you because of benchmark; some of us who deal in the clearance of pipes don’t go through what they go through about the issue of PAAR declaration because it is an international manufacturing trade where everybody knows what a seven inches will cost coming from any part of the world.
“So when that benchmark is established, nobody will have anything hidden under anywhere. You will do your declaration according to the benchmark; the importer pays his money; he takes his goods and nobody will extort money from him. This is one way of discouraging corruption,” he said.