The PTML Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has given two weeks ultimatum to 304 importers who are yet to pay for various cargo declarations made from January to December 2014 or face sanction.
A total of N473.7million had accrued from the unpaid declarations.
In a public notice signed by the ASYCUDA Project Manager of the command, a copy which was sighted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, the concerned importers were requested to effect payment on the declarations within two weeks or risk suspension of the declarant agency and the consignee from the ASYCUDA system or forfeit the cargo as overtime.
The notice read in part: “The attention of the under listed agencies is hereby drawn to the declarations made by the various agencies from January to December 2014 and for which payment has not been made as of this date.
“However, if payment has been made on any of the declarations, the concerned agency is advised to go to the APM with evidence of payment.
“Failure to comply with this directive by the set date may lead to any or all of the following; suspension of the declarant agency and the consignee in the ASYCUDA system and forfeiture of cargo as overtime.”
Speaking on the development, Public Relations officer of the command, Steve Okonmah said the notice was issued after the command observed some importers had made various cargo declarations but have failed to pay (duty) for them.
“Some of the agents will go and make declarations, do the assessment and fill it in your presence and later they just reject it and later find a way to make another assessment. Several assessment are made but are not paid for, so the notice is just asking them to come and tell us why they have not utilised it since they are the ones that made the declarations,” he said.
However, one of the agents, Gilbert Nnabuihe whose agency name appeared on the list but had since made payment to the bank advised the command to check and reconcile with the designated bank, noting that it is the bank’s duty to alert the command once payments are made and not for the clearing and forwarding agency to show evidence of payment.
According to him, about half of the agencies whose name appeared on the list have made payment to the bank.
“We make payment to the bank and they will now transfer to them (Customs) but sometimes if there is no network service, the bank may not transfer it and customs will not have it in their system. In my own case, I have paid and even taken delivery of my goods before they called me and I saw my name on the board so I went to show them means of payment. That should not be the case,” he said.
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