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Government urged to review policies driving importers to neighbouring countries

By Adaku Onyenucheya
30 December 2020   |   2:02 am
Former Chairman Senate Committee on Customs and Governor, Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has called on the Federal Government to change fiscal policies, which drives importers to neighbouring ports.

Imo State Governor ,Hope Uzodimma. Photo: TWITTER/hopeuzodimma1

Former Chairman Senate Committee on Customs and Governor, Imo State, Hope Uzodimma, has called on the Federal Government to change fiscal policies, which drives importers to neighbouring ports.

Uzodimma, who spoke during the yearly General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said: “Cotonou port is very busy because of some unrealistic fiscal policies in Nigeria. What is the essence of placing the import duty of cars at 35 per cent or more, when the country doesn’t produce cars? Isn’t it only reasonable for the government in Benin, Togo and other neighbouring countries to peg their import duties at five per cent to target Nigerian cargoes?”

He argued that until Nigeria is ready to assemble affordable cars the can compete with those imported, the government must allow people to bring in imported cars to boost non-oil revenue.

“Government doesn’t really have a choice because of the dwindling non-oil revenue. The maritime sector must be harnessed as one of the viable alternatives and good fiscal policies would be needed to achieve this,” he said.

Uzodimma also decried the multiplicity of Customs Units at ports access roads and highways, adding that it was erroneous for Customs to seize consignments already cleared by its officers at the ports.

The Imo State governor also called for a robust synergy between freight agents and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to dissipate the challenges with cargo evacuation from ports and border posts.

According to him, this partnership will also foster the nation’s bid to diversify the economy and boost non-oil revenue with numerous potentials from the maritime sector.

“Nigerians don’t smuggle and research has shown that those involved in big-time smuggling in the country aren’t Nigerians. They go to Cotonou to clear the cars at five percent duties and explore the avenues of bringing the exotic vehicles via bushes and other unapproved border routes.”

Meanwhile, ANLCA has successfully elected nine members into its Board of Trustee (BOT). They include Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Executive Vice Chairman of SIFAX Group, Chief Ozor Chukwura, Chief Kingsley Offor, Eniola John and Shamsideen Akanji . Others are Obi Azodo, Alhaji Isa Aliyu, Timothy Ayokunle and Chief Igwe Odinaka. While the Imo State Governor was decorated as Grand Patron of ANLCA, and Chief Henry Njoku with another chieftain of the association was also made patrons of ANLCA respectively.

ANLCA President, Iju Tony, Nwabunike said ANLCA would continue to pursue the interest of members in the areas of operational challenges, and other government policies that are not favourable to the interest of the maritime industry.

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