By DAPO OLAWUNI
Stakeholders in the maritime sector have condemned the visit of the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Zone A, ACG Modupe Aremu to various customs formations under her control, describing it as a “secret visit” because she snubbed critical stakeholders.
Our correspondent noted that during the ACG Visit to the Tin Can and Apapa, PTML Commands, stakeholders were bared from making any transactions at the Customs Processing Centre (CPC) a development which many said would lead to incured demurrage on the part of importers.
The Director General of Sea Empowrment Research Centre, Mr Francis Aniezechukwu while reacting in a statement sent to DAILY TREND NEWS said “maritime stakeholders, civil societies, trade associations where shocked by the secret visit of one of the top government officials in charge of the western zone of Nigeria Custom Service to some of the commands in the area today”
“This visit is genuinely worrisome considering that it was made by ACG Modupe Aremu who was recently redeployed from Excise FTZ to Zone A headquarters in Lagos; that boast of some of the vast commands in the country.
“Research are tilting on the view that the enormous pressure on zonal heads and area comptroller from the government to generate revenue even at the expense of international standard trade practices is one of the core reasons for this visit, which will soon unfold, hence the need to shroud it in secrecy.
“Ordinarily this visit ought to have been transparent with stakeholders meeting, applauding gains made by government agencies and practitioners , articulating future endeavors with special emphasis on grey areas that are barriers to international trade .
“We at Sea Empowrment Research Centre unequivocally states that transparency is a situation in which government institutional activities and other supporting organizational activities are performed in open way without any secrets held behind, so that the public can believe and trust that these organizations are honest and fair.
“Eradicating all barriers and enabling information access to public and facilitating procedures, rules and regulations that protects the interest of the citizens, that are into business which will reflects on the development of the nation.
“Sea Empowerment insist that a potential disadvantage of limiting the amount of information that practitioners receives as enumerated in freedom of information Bill in an attempts to maintain confidentiality is that it may decrease awareness of gains made by government and services rendered by service providers .
“Government officials must regularly update stakeholders with news about upcoming policies and guidelines, it can help create investors desires and boost investors confidence.
“The goal of secrecy as exhibited by The head of zone A headquarters of Nigeria custom command today is to conceal information from one or more people which must be jettison in the maritime sector for Nigeria to be respected amoung the Committee of Nations” the statement read