National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu has advocated stiff jail terms for importers and customs brokers who shortchange government of its legitimate revenue.
While speaking at an event in Lagos last week, Shittu said committing economic saboteurs to jail as is done in other climes such as South Korea would deter importers and agents from committing such crimes.
He said, “I want to tell you that twenty, thirty years ago, South Korea was worse than Nigeria when we are talking about corruption. But they woke up one day to discover that without a firm handling of corruption by issuing capital punishment, it may be hard to get things right and that was when they made a u-turn.
“They jailed customs brokers and officers who were indicted and within tens years when importers and agents realised that about twenty persons were jailed, everyone stood up to say rather than die, let us pay government money.”
The ANLCA leader however admonished customs brokers to engage their importers and advise them on compliance to government policies.
“You should be able to tell them the truth.
“When you are given document, tell your importer to sign on it and when this is done and he is charged to court and you can prove your case that that was the document he gave you, you will only be a witness in the case.
“But if he didn’t append his signature on it and he was able to prove that you are the one that undervalued the goods then you may be charged to court,” he said.
Manwhile, the ANLCA National President on Tuesday lamented the traffic situation at the Kirikiri area of Apapa, noting its negative impact on cargo clearance and trade facilitation.
He said in spite of the debilitating operating environment, he was pleased to note the peace and cordial relationship existing between ANLCA, Nigeria Custom service and other government agencies the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
During a courtesy call on the Controller of the Command, Comptroller Frances Enwereuzor, Shittu said the dearth of cargo has rendered the terminal “almost comatose”.
On her part, Enwerenuzor said that her relationship with ANLCA at the command has been cordial and wished that cargo clearing activities picks up soon.
She said the command’s effort aimed at addressing the notorious traffic congestion on the terminal’s access road yielded positive results for a while only to relapse again largely due largely compromise.
She also disclosed that the challenges of server downtime earlier experienced at the terminal has been has been successfully adressed and overcome.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.