The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has lampooned the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), over the service’s alleged refusal to issue a policy statement on the direction of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Addressing journalists recently in Lagos, the Vice President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto decried the continuous silence of the service over the free trade agreement.
He said the continuous silence of the service over the AfCFTA will make the country a dumping ground, and that the continuous silence spells doomed for the country.
He also averred that the continuous lack of stakeholders’ engagement has reduced compliance among the freight forwarders
Farinto also alleged that men of NCS now engage touts who terrorize their members anytime they want to arrest a container or vehicle in chaos in the vicinity.
According to him, “one of the components of WCO good governance is that every Customs of every nation must collaborate with Customs brokers. We noticed that this management team has not been collaborating. I have said my own personal opinion that I did not see this management team being capable, but the opinion of the association is that we are not even too comfortable with what they are doing.
“You want to call for meetings with stakeholders, you are inviting people who are non-members, who are not licensed and you just call people who you like just because you want to dish out instructions. It is not done. I keep saying that it is not the NCS that are generating the revenue. We are the ones generating the revenue but what they do is to midwife the revenue, we are generating It is not the Customs officer that goes to the bank to pay duty. We do go to the bank. We are the one that is paying the duty but because you are the umpire, you are the one that will look at the duty you have paid. It is a misnomer if they are thinking they can do it alone and be successful.
“On the issue of the Africa Free Trade Agreement, up till now, there is no policy statement by the NCS on the way forward, before we know it, Nigeria will be a dumping ground. Our volume of interest is dropping on a daily basis and before we know it, all these African countries will bombard our nation and our seaports with their products. How do we survive it? I’m looking at the future of this country, whoever has the ears of Mr. CG should advise him to have a rethink before collaborating with Customs brokers if not it will be doomed for this country.
“It is very unfortunate because the oil is not forthcoming. Oil will soon become irrelevant and if you begin to slam illegal debit or demand notices on the traders. It will get to a stage where there will be a reaction they will challenge the authority.
“It has gotten to our peak now, if you go to Mile 2, the Customs officer that is there, what they now do is to employ the services of touts terrorizing our members, anytime they want to arrest a container or vehicle with a commando style.
“It has gone to that level. These younger agents are seeing this on a daily basis and we are receiving reports; by the time there will be reaction from them, it is very possible that we may not be able to control them. I am saying this because I want it to be on record so that Nigerians will know that the modus operandi of NCS is not helping the development or growth of our economy. It is going to take us back and I am predicting doom if we continue like this” he said.