…Promises Tough Times for Uncompliant Traders
There are indications that the Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service may have began what it called ‘Segmentation of Importers’ even as it has vowed that tough times await uncompliant traders.
Chairman of Tin Can Island Chapter of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Segun Oduntan in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS yesterday said importers at the command have now been grouped into 3 categories in order to ensure smooth cargo delivery.
Confirming the development, the Tin Can Customs Public Relation Officer, Mr. Uche Ejisieme, said that the command was trying to rejig and fine-tune its operations such that compliant traders are treated expeditiously.
According to the ANLCA Chairman, the first segment is dominated by multinational companies such as Nestle, Coca Cola, Breweries among others, while the second category comprises or importers who are willing to comply but are constrained with lack of information on classification of their cargoes.
The third category according to Oduntan are the uncompliant importers.He however said that so far, the non compliant importers are in the minority and not more than 5%.
Speaking he said “In our recent interaction with the command, we got to know that there in the command, they have been able to segment importers, the corrupt ones you are talking about now fall under the third segment of people who would not want to comply with extant laws”
“It is human nature that no matter the process you have put in place, you will still find some people who are able to cut corners”
“The segmentation, the multinational companies are given fast track clearance as compliant traders, there is a standing order there today that these big names, the cadbury, Coca cola, Nestlé and others, if they have a shipment at the port, it is taken by fast track, if later the Customs found out that they have underpaid in any way, the post clearance audit section is there, they can always go back to them, give them a Debit Note and they will pay, they are not running away”
“The second category are the people who would want to be compliant but for some reasons, maybe due to lack of knowledge, they will go back and compete their documentation.There is a third segment which you mentioned earlier, these ones would not want to do anything the proper way, such people are in the minority, they are not so much, maybe they are like 5%”
He advised clearing with genuine complaints to approach the chapter provide documentary evidence with which their case can be pursued.
“If they cannot provide this, it means they belong to the third category” he said
The Customs PRO, Ejisieme said the command was trying to rejig and fine-tune it’s operational modalities in such a way that compliant importers are treated expeditiously in the clearance process.
”Further to this is our renewed commitment in ensuring that fast track beneficiaries are treated with dispatch in the value chain.
’The command took cognisance of three distinct categories of traders: those that are ever ready to comply with the extant laws as it relates to trade; Those that are willing but sometimes are indeterminate; and those who are out-rightly adamant with penchant for circumventing the fiscal policies.
”Our focus is on the second category of traders. For the second category, we will continue to engage them through sensitization for them to see the need for compliance”
“And for the third category, we will continue to decimate their criminal content as appropriate.” He said