A non-governmental organization, the Social Integrity Network (SIN) has told lawmakers at the National Assembly that the cancellation of the pre-shipment inspection scheme is responsible for the high rate of smuggling in Nigeria.
Spokesperson of the group, Ibrahim Issah, noted that there is need for a public debate to address the merit or demerit of the cancellation of the scheme “some years back”.
SHIPS & PORTS checks revealed that the pre-shipment inspection of Nigeria’s imports was cancelled by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 when it was replaced with the destination inspection scheme.
The pre-shipment inspection was cancelled due to its high cost and inefficiency, as many contraband goods still find their way into Nigeria despite the control instituted in the countries of original.
However, the SIN spokesman in a statement issued weekend, said, “If the federal government is really after the protection of lives and property of Nigerians, there is need for President Muhammadu Buhari to reverse the policy with immediate effect and also probe further the damages done so far on the Nigeria’s economy.
“This is the reason why the huge sums of money voted to combat insecurity is yet to manifest while many Nigerians are dying on daily basis.
“We think it is worthwhile that a national debate be organised for experts to give their opinions on the pre-shipment inspection cancellation while we urge the leadership of the 9th National Assembly to quickly investigate this action before it collapses Nigeria’s economy.
“It is saddening to note that the pre-shipment inspection that was cancelled during the tenure of the former Comptroller of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, has further paved ways for bandwagon effects. We want to categorically ask that, was the cancellation approval granted by the President and Commander-In-Chief, by the leadership of the National Assembly, by the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice or by their personal decision?”
The group also implored the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan to set up committee to instigate the activities of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to defend the many allegations against it by the manufacturers.
“There is need for SON to give detail accounts of how substandard roofing sheets are finding their ways into the Nigerian markets despite the MANCAP and SONCAP fees imposed on importers and exporters.
“If the Nigeria Custom Service and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria cannot fish out the Smugglers, the Federal Government of Nigeria should command the Department of State, Nigeria Police and the Presidential Committee on Trade Malpractices to join hands together to deploy the machineries in their arsenals to move into the matter and detect those behind the menace of smuggling in Nigeria,” he added.