The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that it has started training 8, 000 of its officers in weapon handling in other to reduce incidences of accidental discharge of their weapons.
The service also said that it was generating not less than N5.5 billion everyday as revenue collection.
Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali stated this yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Apapa, Lagos.
Ali who was represented by the Assistant Controller General in charge of Zone A of the service, Kaycee Ekekezie commended the freight forwarders for being the habitual between Customs and the importers.
He confirmed that the level of compliance of Nigerian freight forwarders have increased tremendously and this has shot up the revenue base of the customs.
Ali attributed this to the full automation of Customs processes, even as he confirmed that the Ease of Doing Business Order of the federal government has been very effective at the ports.
According to the Customs boss, there was need for its officers to be trained in weapon handling in order to reduce incidences of accidental discharge of their weapons.
“Right now, we are training over 8,000 on how to carry arms, so that after that training, there won’t be accidental discharge anymore, officers will know how better to carry their arms.In terms of security, our enforcement units are well equipped to secure life and properties and ensure compliance”
“Freight Forwarders are the major stakeholders in the import and export processes and they are heavy contributors to the enviable revenue profile of the Nigeria Customs service, you are the ones who relay government fiscal policies and interpreted the laws to the consignees”
“Many of you have aligned with the Customs mantra of honest declaration, there has been a lot of changes, there are compliant declarations in the Customs system. I am sure that this is fuelled by the full automation of Customs processes”
“We have developed an ICT driven processes to facilitate genuine trade. This is evident in the rise in daily revenue generation of the service in recent times, now, overall we averagely collect N5.5 billion on daily when we are low, this is because people are beginning to comply”
He urged freight forwarders to always embrace genuine declaration and shun the temptation to cut corners. According to her, customs is sanctioning its officers on daily basis, those who were found to have compromised.
He said officers are being detained and dismissed at intervals for one offense or the other, while those who perform excellently are being rewarded and promoted. He urged freight forwarders to also take a cue from the Customs and punish their airing members.
In his remark, the founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam berated the Nigeria Customs Service for not carrying freight forwarders along in the recent increment in the exchange rate for cargo clearance.
Aniebonam said though the Customs was not in charge of setting the exchange rate policy, the area controllers on realising a change in the system should have convene a stakeholders meeting.
“Thank God you are here today based on request, when the Customs Comptroller General paid a visit to NAGAFF it was based on request which ought not to be so”
“I would expect that constant dialogue with stakeholders should not be on request, for instance when CBN, increased the exchange rate, we expected that the customs will call us to inform us but you didn’t, constant dialogue with us will be a good one and I would expect that soonest”. He said.
Members of the association who took time to air their challenges also stressed the need for a monthly stakeholders interaction meeting at various commands in order to be on same page.