Encourage legitimate trade, Edike tells officers

Acting Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ and immediate past Controller, Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Charles Edike has advised officers to continue to encourage legitimate trade by ensuring that cargo clearance documents are not unduly delayed except in cases where there are discrepancies in documentation.

Edike who gave the advise while addressing officers of the command shortly before handing over the reigns of the command to the most senior Deputy Comptroller yesterday in Apapa urged the officers to be diligent and carry out their duties in a manner approved by the Customs Board noting that the days of impunity were gone.

He told the officers to be mindful of the fact that their actions or inactions will always reflect on trade hence the need for them to always put in their best to achieve the command’s set goal.

“Hold dearly the things we taught you and work to facilitate trade. Whatever you are asked to do, do it in a manner approved by the Board, once you do that you are protected and covered but if you do it in your own way, you are on your own.

“The days of impunity are gone, the days you want to do things in your own way are gone. We must support our country by encouraging trade facilitation. Don’t keep people’s document on your table. Treat them and let them go immediately. If there is no fault let it go but if there is fault, let them pay to the last kobo,” he said.

While advising the officers to keep up with the integrity the command had been known for, Edike said the command had over the years been the preferred choice for importers because of officers’ diligence to work.

He added that the Zone under his watch will not be dormant as the Comptroller General has empowered the Zonal offices to oversee the operations and performance of commands under each zone.

“The CGC has just said that everything the Zone was doing before should resume.  He even said if revenue falls in any command, the Zonal coordinator will be held responsible,” he said.

Edike, after inspecting the guard in parade, handed over the affairs of the command to the most senior Deputy Controller, Maitizumahs Gwani urging the officers to extend the same support he enjoyed to the DC.

He said Gwani’s assignment was only temporary as only the Comptroller-General had authority to appoint an acting Controller for the command.

Until now, Gwani was the DC in charge of EKO Support Service.

Meanwhile, Edike has faulted the claims by the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) that it takes an average of 40 signatures to clear consignment out of the Apapa port describing it as a “lie from the pit of hell”.

“You don’t even need any signature to clear your consignment in Apapa. Not even half signature because everything is automated. The only way signatures can come in is when the importer or agent is not transparent and there is need for him to pay a DN (debit note). The issuing officer sign and the CAC confirm. These are the only two signatures you find when there is non-compliance,” he said.

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