By DAPO OLAWUNI
Apparently not comfortable with the decision of the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali’s decision to suspend transfer of containers out of Lagos ports by barges, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Customs Agents (ANLCA)has condemned the decision saying that it would lead to port congestion.
The customs boss had in a circular with number NCF/ENF/ABJ/058/S.23 dated 12th of March 2020 suspended the evacuation of containers from the ports by barges, saying that some importers and agents were taking advantage of this barge evacuation to divert containers to illegal warehouses.
The circular was signed by the Deputy Comptroller General, Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, DCG A.Chidi and circulated to all Area commands, heads of units, CGC Strike force, border drill, and federal operations units for immediate implementation.
But in a swift reaction, National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Babatunde Mukhaila told DAILY TREND NEWS that the Nigeria Customs Service is not in sync with modern trade facilitation processes.
He argued that suspending barge operations on account of importers diverting cargoes to illegal warehouses is a mark of laziness on the part of Customs officers.
Our correspondent reports that Customs procedure on transfer of containers states that cargoes that have not been duly examined at the port before delivery must be transferred under customs bond and escorted by Customs to destination.
On getting to destination, the cargoes will be examined and released.
The argument of the clearing agents is that if cargo is being diverted before reaching destination, Customs is responsible and not the operators.
According to the ANLCA Scribe, “Modern trade facilitation must be predictable and transparent, therefore Nigeria Customs Service cannot continue to be crude in their responses to issues.
The manner with which Customs provide and supports swift and efficient cargo clearance reflects the the quality of service provided in line with revised KYOTO Convention as amended”
“Barge operations supports comprehensive principles for simple,effective and predictable Customs procedures to help control, therefore Nigerian Customs should prefer scceptable ways of rising to barge processing as modern way of carriage of goods to the hinterland”
“Customs must facilitate trade at all time, while applying control for security and revenue generations”
“It is a mark of laziness on the part of Customs to throw away the baby with bath waters”
“No container gets on a barge without an exit note and Terminal Delivery Order (TDO) if NCS is short of answer and staffs they should say so” he argued