The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has advised the Federal Government to discontinue fixing of revenue targets to the Nigeria Customs Service, saying that this has created bad blood between the service and Nigerians.
National President of ANLCA, Hon Tony Iju stated this while presenting a paper on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) at an industry event in Lagos recently.
Mr. Iju noted that there has been a gradual and steady distrust between Customs officers and Customs brokers over cargo value differences, he added that the end is not in sight to this contention.
He blamed the frosty relationship on the way and manner with which the federal government churn out import guidelines and procedures every year, and the manner the policies are being implemented.
The ANLCA President warned that the only way customs and stakeholders can enjoy a smooth relationship is for the Federal Government to provide a value benchmark as a means to standardized tariff charges on imported goods.
Mr. Iju argued that rather than set revenue targets for Customs, the service should be encouraged to continue to safeguard Nigerian territorial boundaries, ensure trade facilitation, security of goods in bound and out bound the country.
“Giving customs a target every year by FGN should be discouraged, I strongly believe that the Nigeria Customs Service has been over stretched and Nigerians seeing them as not being friendly, a situation I sincerely believe should be revisited and allow the Customs to remain what they are suppose to be according to the standard of World Customs Organisation (CWO)”
“Nigerian government must be sensitive to unbanned some goods that are not made or being manufactured in Nigeria as of today”
“If the Federal Government provides a value benchmark as a means to standardized tariff charges, the misunderstanding may end. It is happening because government has encouraged it”
“Nigeria is the only country where Customs is being given revenue target. Customs’ responsibility on import and other port levies are supposed to be administrative cost to cushion maintenance, logistics support and infrastructure provisions”
“What I want us to understand is that revenue collection from Customs duty is a function of the volume of import. I have explained that since government changed the objective for which these duties and taxes are collected and made it a revenue system”
“It is high time the federal government takes a new approach to trade , if the Nigeria economy must benefit from the AfCFTA”
“As for the Customs Brokers, our job is simply, facilitate trade to the point of need. In this case we pledge allegiance to our clients in doing so.It is important to note that a new face of Clearing and Forwarding practice will emerged in the AfCFTA regime”