The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA) has threatened to withdraw the services of its members at the nation’s seaport should the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) go ahead with the implementation of the N20,000 fee it proposed to collect on all imported used vehicles into the country.
It would be recalled that SON had last month appointed three companies including Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited, Quality Assurance Projects Limited and Medtech Scientific Limited to verify Nigeria-bound vehicles before shipping into the country with an inspection fee of not less than N20, 000 per vehicle.
Director–General of SON, Joseph Odumodu had said that the move was part of effort aimed at ensuring the successful implementation of the federal government’s new auto policy.
But speaking yesterday at the commissioning of the Tin Can Island Port Chapter Secretariat, National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu opposed the move saying that if the vehicle pre-shipment verification exercise is implemented, importers will lose a total of N5.7 billion as the amount that would be paid to the agency based on an average of 250,000 vehicles imported into the country annually.
“I hear Standard Organization of Nigeria wants to be charging N20, 000 per vehicle that is imported into Nigeria. When we calculate that based on an average of 250,000 vehicles per annum, they will be collecting N5.7 billion. It is not going through national assembly, it is not going through appropriation and this is the same organization that government pay money on the budget every year,” Shitty stated.
The ANLCA boss said SON would only be allowed to enforce the policy if the federal government through the Nigeria Customs Service agrees to pay agents 10 percent of its total revenue collection maintaining that it would be the only yardstick for negotiation.
“So this is our money for them to share, we don’t want to share with them and we are not going to give them. The day SON says they are forcefully collecting that money, we will stop work.
“The negotiation is you can collect 20 but give us 10 per cent of our revenue. That will be the yardstick for our negotiation. We have tried to keep peace in the port for over four years, we have never gone on strike because we are a professional body but if that is the only language government we go, we will down tool,” he said.
“The least demand we are asking through customs to the federal government is to give us 10 percent of the total collection. We are entitled to it, Cotecna, SGS and the other Service providers were contractors to the government and they were collecting 1 percent FOB but when they couldn’t manage RAR and customs came with a superior system which is PAAR, they couldn’t go away from the cheap money they were making in those days, so they went through the ministry of Investment to get another contract with the SON so that they can be making a minimum of N5billion per annum. That is why in no distance time, we shall draw the government to a wrestling match, we shall go round the whole federation to sensitize our members that enough is enough,” he said.
On the commissioning of the Secretariat, Shittu congratulated the executives of the chapter for the achievement even as he pointed out that the association now has a wide recognition and affiliations even with international bodies because of its professionalism.
He appealed to members of the association to avail themselves of the ongoing Customs foundational training course for all licensed Customs agents saying that the certificates obtained at the end of the training will be the requirement for renewal of licenses.
“Because of International best practices, you will not get your license renewed if you don’t pass through this foundation training. If you feel you are too big to learn, then it is when you discover that you are been forced to do what you are supposed to do, when your license is no longer renewed, when the bench mark will be the training you have gone through, it is then you we know that you have been missing it all,” he said.
He expressed appreciation to the Comptroller general of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdulahi for sponsoring the training programme.