Coordinator, Zone A, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Assistant Controller General Banke Adeyemo has said the zone plans to train clearing agents operating at the various customs commands in Lagos and south-western part of the country.
Adeyemo, who disclosed this during her maiden visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Command yesterday, said the zone will also create a trade hub center in a bid to address operational challenges confronting stakeholders at the various commands under it.
“In a very close future, we will set up a trade hub center at the zonal office so that stakeholders can come in and have some bit of enlightenment. In addition to that we will also put in some capacity building for agents at the zonal office,” she told clearing agents and other stakeholders who met with her during the visit.
Adeyemo who appreciated the efforts of the stakeholders in maintaining cordial relationship with customs acknowledged that compliance level of the agents have increased adding that the success achieved so far in the reform of the Nigeria Customs Serice is as a result of the stakeholders’ cooperation.
The customs boss noted that although that some policies put in place by government are not favoured by many, they were aimed at facilitating trade, save time and enhance revenue in order to attain international best practices.
“When government brings out policies, some of them may not actually be acceptable to your clients, it will initially bring some discomfort but within a short time, it will stabilize.
“The volume of trade that goes on in the zone forms the heartbeat of the economy. Your participation is key because of your contribution to the GDP. The government is putting a lot of reforms in place and we are implementing it so we need to engage you properly so that you can understand the objectives of the reforms. It is our duty to engage you because if we don’t, you will truncate the main purpose of bringing the reforms to place,” she said.
Responding to the challenges identified by the stakeholders on proliferation of informal trading at the airport, Adeyemo said it is imperative that customs collates statistical data of trade and ensure that clearance procedures are formalized but the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), who according to her are mostly involved in the informal trade, are not ready to comply with the shift in information technology.
“Because the formal sector is quite organized and because you know them, I will like to recommend that you open a Form M on their behalf. Try and get a packing list and set up a form of logistic organization for them so that when they are coming they will know the agent that will clear them. Try and list the variety of their commodities and it is their collective value that you will use for the Form ‘M’ if you put their luggage together, you can use the volume and the invoice value to apportion the duty to them,” she said.
The meeting was attended by chairmen of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA) and representatives of SACHOL, NACHO and other courier firms operating at the airport.
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