The Nigeria Customs Service has set up a dispute resolution unit called the Complaints & Trade Dispute Resolution Committee at its various formations to oversee complaints arising from the implementation of the Common External Tariff (CET).
Agents and importers had last week when the CET was fully implemented at the various commands in Lagos experienced challenges while trying to capture their declarations at the Direct Trader Input (DTI) cafes and assessing the Customs’ online portal.
Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office on Wednesday, Public Relations Officer of the Tin Can Island Port Command, Chris Osunkwo said the setting up of the committee by Customs was part of an ongoing effort to address anticipated challenges relating to the CET.
He said the committee has been working to harmonize the differences in the tariff which would see some importers paying more on certain goods while others pay less.
He said with the inauguration of the committee, the agents will no longer have to visit Customs headquarters to lodge their complaints, which has been the practice prior to the setting up of the committee.
“For example, in the old CET, you could have an item there at 5 percent and in the new one goes for 10 percent but you have been given a PAAR for 5 percent. While at the DTI cafe to capture your declaration, the system will not take that and before now what most of the agents do is to head to Abuja; but with the committee set up at the various commands, they no longer need to go there.
“The committee will look at the complaints and manually they will harmonize it and create room for you to pay at 10 percent and we’ll let you go. If formerly an item was 10 percent and is now 5 percent, we’ll also do the same instead of the cargo accruing demurrage at the port,” he said.
He advised importers and agents to take advantage of the committee to resolve all pending and fresh disputes that may arise from the CET and other related issues, noting that every change in policy will always have initial teething problems.
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