Impediments to cargo clearance, by customs agents
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), has identified series of impediments to smooth clearance of cargo from the Nigerian borders.
The National President of the association, Prince Olayiwola Shittu at a function in Seme border, said incidences of non-harmonization of vehicle value across borders in Nigeria as well as, some customs officers disturbing smooth cargo passage are major impediments to smooth customs operations at the borders, particularly at Seme Border.
Other hindrances, according to him, include the existence of many unapproved checkpoints and customs officers engaging in cargo clearing jobs while still in service.
Before now, agents operating at the border post have complained of series of unfavourable acts against them by some customs officers. Among them is the diversion of already- cleared vehicles by officers of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU).
Agents also alleged that officers are in the habit of diverting already cleared vehicles especially at Ijebu Ode and subsequently take them to Idiroko or Abeokuta to be issued with demand notices (DN). They link the diversion to an act designed to commit fraud against the agents and the customs service.
Customs Area Controller in charge of Seme border, Comptroller Victor Dimka, promised to roll out a circular to all customs officers and agents requesting documentary evidence on officers violating extant laws of the federation by engaging in the business of cargo clearance while still in service.
On the camp boys’ issue, Comptroller Dimka reasoned that the use of camp boys was because of shortage of manpower.
However, he said that with the advent of ICT compliance and a preponderance of well- trained and qualified officers, the practice should have been extinct by now. He promised to look into the matter critically with a view to stopping the practice.
On the issue of excessive duty charges on vehicles, the CAC disclosed that the minister of finance was taking a second look at the matter with a view to reviewing it downwards.