The Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said that between January bland May 2019, it has handled and treated with dispatch, over 140 cases of controversy in duty payments through its Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC)
Speaking with DAILY TREND exclusively on Thursday, Spokesman of the Command, Mr. Uche Ejesieme said that the 140 importers and their clearing agents who had controversy in their documentation have come forward and the matter was resolved.
He said that Dispute Resolution Committee, a creation of the command was to ensure that stakeholders get fair treatment in their transactions.
Uche urged clearing agents with genuine complaints backed by evidence, to come forward and the matter would be treated.
He said “This year alone, we have resolved over 140 cases in the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) either for or against, all we want is for you to come up with empirical evidence”
“The committee is made up of almost all the egg heads of the command, we have the APM (Asycuda Project Manager) as a member, Deputy Comptroller Revenue, Deputy Comptroller Valuation, Officer in charge of Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) is a member, two other senior officers who are actually good in classification and valuation are members. It is an unbiased committee headed by DC Valuation”
“People should come forward with documents and empirical evidence to work with, what differentiates Comptroller Musa MBA, the Area Controller from others is his ICT bias, he doesn’t believe in anything that does not have empirical evidence” he said
Ejesieme also dismissed insinuations that the relationship between the Tin Can command and her stakeholders was frosty because the command has allegedly introduced ‘duty benchmark’ on all containers coming through the port.
He denied that the command was not operating such policy called “benchmark”
In the area of compliance to government fiscal policies, he said that Customs was still having challenges with clearing agents who refused to make genuine declarations.
Speaking, he said “Some of the reports you hear about the frosty relationship between the command the stakeholders is not true, they are based on conjectures”
“The core ingredient that can trigger facilitation of trade is compliance. There is no way you would want a seamless facilitation without the people being compliant”
“People saying that we have benchmark at Tin Can Command are just trying to de-market the Controller and by extension the command”
“Don’t forget that freight vary from country to country, if you have a container that is supposed to pay N600,000 for instance, Customs expects that you don’t pay anything lesser than that, customs expects that once you collect your PAAR, and you calculate duty and it is a true declaration, you have to pay”.
“Some people would also come and ignorantly demand that every 20 foot containers pay N600,000, do you know that some 20foot containers can actually pay N30 million”
“We don’t operate benchmark in Tin Can, it is actually a risk profiling process that we are operating, to ensure that areas of leakages are not created anywhere. Itvis the minimum duty we expect you to pay, having checked all the variables in terms of the cost insurance and freight” he said