National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu has defended the Nigeria Customs Service for applying N282 as exchange rate to the dollar in estimating duties to be paid on imported items.
Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, Shittu said, “It is on record that government makes policy, the Customs enforce the policy and we as Customs brokers implement the policy. So this increase is primarily a federal government directive.”
He however expressed concern over what he called “blanket” application of the new exchange rate.
“It doesn’t make sense. A shipper has travelled and had a Form M that was established when naira was N197 a dollar, and he comes back and you tell him to come and pay N282 to a dollar; that is a serious distortion to the plans of the shipper and what will be the end user cost to such consignment?
“I remember in 2011; there was a directive by Customs headquarters that they should use the prevailing rate as at when the Form M is opened and that has not been reversed. So how come they are doing blanket at N282 to a dollar?” he queried.
On the recent appointment of Ms Hadiza Bala Usman as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority by the Federal Government, Shittu said, “The person that is coming in has not worked in the maritime industry for us to even know who she is. But importantly we know the antecedent; being a co-founder of Bring Back Our Girls and I don’t know if her appointment is a compensation for that because that is the joke everywhere now.
“As we cannot bring back our girls, let us compensate the promoters. Now she has come to the industry, we expect that she will find the industry a different kettle of fish.
“We are part of the people that are saying the role of NPA should be whittled down now that all the terminals have been concessioned and the largeness of NPA can only give room to wastage of resources.
“So still keeping NPA the way it is, we will just be repeating ourselves because I don’t see the additional value.”
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