NECA, Customs Clash Over Duty Payment, Container Interception
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has accused the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) of unnecessarily delaying the clearance of imported raw materials at the ports, alleging that the acts of the officers and men of the service were hindering the ease of doing business in the country.
Expressing the position of the association on the bottlenecks at the ports, the Director General (DG) of NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale, said: “It is a known fact that the world economy is on the precipice; with nations doing all that is necessary to keep their productive sector going.
“Recent incessant issues with the Nigeria Customs Service have become worrisome as it has the potential to push businesses off the cliff thereby fast-tracking the demise of more enterprises and exacerbating the current unemployment situation in Nigeria”, the industrialist added While expressing concern on operational challenges faced by businesses, Olawale argued that “rather than facilitate enterprise competitiveness in line with the government’s policy on ease of doing business, Customs operatives have constituted themselves into clogs in the wheel of legitimate businesses through inconsistent and arbitrary tariff classification, excessive and unfriendly duty rates on key raw materials without local substitute, improper valuation of consignments and reckless interception of containers after legitimate clearance, among others.
“With dwindling oil prices and at a time when the nation needs all the investment it can attract, these bottlenecks will further make the nation to fall behind in investment destination rating “While the Customs is desirous of meeting its revenue target, it should not be at the expense of legitimate businesses.
With the AfCFTA coming into effect 1st January, 2021, these recurring issues will only destroy Nigerian businesses and make importation of manufactured goods more attractive with grave consequences for Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole” ”, the NECA chief added. Speaking exclusively on the development, the Public Relations Officer of NCS, said: “There has been a change in the exchange rate.
We don’t fix monetary regime, we only implement. “We have not changed the tariff regime. If it was 10 per cent, it is still 10 per cent.
It is the value of the dollar that has changed. You bought the goods in dollar, the duty is calculated in dollar and paid in naira equivalent.” On the allegations of improper valuation of consignments and reckless interception of containers after legitimate clearance, the PRO described it as a simple check and balance operation.
He said, “If for any reason you under-declare and we have credible information, we will pick you. If you compromise an officer to escape the port, it will not be a smooth sailing home because it will encourage officers at the ports to continue to be corrupt.”