Customs halts placement of ‘alerts’, blocking of licenses

Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Dikko Abdullahi has reportedly ordered his officers to stop issuing what has come to be known as ‘alerts’ on imported cargoes.

Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who disclosed this to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Friday, also said that the Customs boss has stopped the practice of “indiscriminate blocking of agency licenses” by Customs officials.

Aniebonam stated: “Freight forwarders are hereby informed that the abuse inherent in using local alerts to extort unsuspecting freight forwarding agents have been stopped with immediate effect by the CGC.

“It is also a fact that the CGC has directed that the blocking of agency licenses can only be possible with his personal authorization.

“It is sad and regrettable to note that local alert and unguided blocking of operational licenses have become a conduit of extortion and distortion of customs reforms and PAAR regime.

“We therefore urge freight agents to take advantage of the goodwill of the CGC to be compliant to import regulations and make genuine declarations for customs purposes.”

He advised freight agents to be alert to the extant rule of section 46 and 47 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) with regard to the punishment inherent with untrue declarations, which includes seizure of import and prosecution of offenders.

“The punishment is five years imprisonment without option of fine if found guilty in a revenue law court. We must all now imbibe the culture of best practices and patriotism in our businesses in the customs ports and approved border stations.

“We are most grateful to the CGC and the management team to have powered trade facilitation in practical terms,” the NAGAFF Founder stated.

He said his office will continue to engage the NCS “constructively and responsibly with a view to powering good laws and regulations guiding customs operation”.

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