The Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) said it will engage the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali over the decision of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to dump the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business.
While briefing newsmen on the seizure of 470 pump action rifles in Lagos recently, Ali said NCS would not comply with the federal government directive on Ease of Doing Business at the port as Customs “would not facilitate trade at the expense of the security of the country”.
But speaking in a chat with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, Director General of MAN, Segun Ajayi- Kadir said while the security of the country cannot be compromised, Customs should endeavour to create a balance between trade facilitation and national security.
He said, “We are on the board of Customs and to an extent we give policy direction to Customs but at the same time we are at the receiving end of Customs’ services. We would meet with the CG and discuss how he intends to balance the concerns about the security of the country and the ease of doing business specifically as it relates to manufacturers.
“We should be able to have our machineries cleared at a faster rate and at the same time be able to protect the security of the country.
“We are behind the Customs CG in terms of securing our ports because without security we would be in danger. We know that he is somebody who is conscious of the ease of doing business and wants us to achieve our production target and be on time in running our business. So we would have to engage him on how we would be able to balance his concerns so that this does not affect our operations,” he said.
Kadir said Customs and MAN enjoy cordial working relationship.
According to him, “MAN is confident that the Customs CG’s concern will not in any way affect the way we are going to be transacting business at the port because he is on the same page with us.
“We have a fast track arrangement with Customs so our members on fast track will certainly not be affected by all of these and the stringent process of arriving at that statement. So we are looking at how we would be able to fit into the customs boss’ agenda of maximizing security in the country and ensure we operate in an environment that is conducive.
“Certainly, we would not ask that security be compromised because we want to fast-track goods. If the environment is not secured, the business itself cannot thrive. You can imagine if the arms had found their way into wrong hands, our security will be in jeopardy. So there must be a fine way to balance the two and I think it is the cooperation of the public that is required,” he said.
The MAN DG urged Customs to improve and be more innovative in the way cargo clearance operation is being conducted at the port.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview, President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero has faulted the Customs boss over his pronouncement that NCS will dump the Federal Government’s Executive Order on ease of doing business at the port.
According to Amiwero, the Customs boss does not have the power to suspend an Executive Order issued by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said, “The Comptroller-General cannot stop the Executive Order because it is from the President. Who can stop the Executive Order are the Minister of Finance and the Presidency. Customs is just to implement the Executive Order and what the Customs CG can do is to find a way around the process and see how things can be done rather than saying the Service would suspend the order.”