The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has advised freight agents to be careful in funding any transaction related to cargo clearance out of customs control.
The NAGAFF’s deputy national president for Seaports, Prince Obums Anene, speaking on behalf of the association on the matter, said all receipted transactions related to cargo clearance and customs formalities must be paid by the consignee as clearly stated in the import and export guideline of the 2006 extant.
He said the advice became necessary in the face of the prevailing socio-political and economic circumstances, such as the on-going political transition, the slump in the oil prices, the high exchange rate of the naira, the Boko Haram insurgency and loss of market patronage in the northern part of Nigeria.
“It is also a fact that they pose a higher risk for practitioners to continue to finance import clearance without due consideration and crash barriers thereto put in place,” Anene said.
He noted that the remote cause and the greatest threat to revenue due to government in the customs ports was the concept and practice of funding import and export clearance by the freight agents. He, however, lamented that the freight agents merely “sit in the comfort of their offices to decide customs duty without facts but rather go about it with untrue declarations for customs purposes.
“As a matter of fact, the situation has become more precarious for the simple fact that returns on investment are so minimal due to higher levels of corruption and disrespect for rule of law in the Nigerian ports and border stations. It is sad to note that following the concessioning policy, the ports and border entry points have become less competitive and less friendly to businesses. The entry points critical stakeholders are not helping matters due to the non-compliant attitude to import and export guidelines.
“Consequently, we urge and encourage all practitioners to ensure that our principals are persuaded to be compliant to import regulations. Invest wisely and practice with honour and integrity to avoid loss of hard earned resources to revenue traitors. We should also be very careful with customs laws with regard to revenue due to government which is very punitive against offenders (as stipulated in) Sections 46 and 47 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
“We wish to advise freight agents who are in the habit of turning to overnight importers with an intent to have businesses to stop because of the inherent danger and liability thereto. Customs laws have a life span of seven years to discharge itself as may be deemed fit by the Nigeria Customs Service Board.
Source : Leadership