Of course, that is the right thing and that is how it ought to be. It is because the zones are not empowered that is why we have trade issues drag on for too long. Things were not like this in the past. Then, our problem starts in the command but ends in the zone. What we are seeing now is that anything you want to do, if you don’t go to Abuja that problem will not be solved and that has not taken us anywhere but has continuously made things difficult for us as agents.
At least by now, it is expected that they should have reversed back to what was obtainable and practicable to move the nation and economy forward. Any issue you have now, be it PAAR or licensing issue, documentation or even classification you have to go to Abuja which to me is wrong and administratively it is not done and I don’t even know why Customs has kept to that.
Sometimes, you have issues when you are on point of releasing based on classification and documentation, you will have to abandon the job there and start going to Abuja. So I am of the opinion that the situation should be reversed and the zones be given the necessary powers they need to work. Not on every trivial issue, you go to Abuja.
Yes of course. If the zone is not empowered, they will not be able to work. In those days, zonal coordinators have enormous powers. If any Controller has problem, he will meet with the zonal coordinator without going to Abuja and they will solve the problem. But all the while, things started changing and all trade problems are taken to Abuja and the zone becomes redundant.
If the zones are given more powers to operate, they will do more than what they are doing now and that will be better and we will not have to be travelling to Abuja every now and then. You can meet with the zonal coordinator anytime but it will take days even weeks before you can see the Comptroller-General or a Deputy Comptroller-General in Abuja. Some who still prefer to go to Abuja I think is because of the issue of godfatherism. Otherwise if we have the zonal coordinator here, why must we go Abuja?
Prince Ignatius Nwachukwu
If for example, a child has a problem, naturally he will meet the mother first, it is when she cannot solve it that she will then meets with the father. Similarly, why should somebody in Lagos have a problem and it is until you get to Abuja that the problem can be solved when there is a zonal coordinator here. So having the zones empowered to tackle the problem of the zone will be cost effective and timely for us as agents.
If we have any problem, one can simply meet with the zonal coordinator and resolve it. About 2 decades ago, all trade disputes were resolved here. Nobody goes to Abuja. It is recently that things just changed. If the zones cannot address the issue, then we can go to the headquarters.
I don’t think that is possible going through the Customs books. Of course, it will be better if the zone can be on their own so that if there is anything happening within the zones, each zone should be able to take decision and the issues settled but with the Federal Government character, I don’t think that will be possible.
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