FINANCING CARGO CLEARANCE OUT OF CUSTOMS CONTROL BY FREIGHT FORWARDING PRACTIONERS: MATTERS ARISING

February 24, 2015

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

FINANCING CARGO CLEARANCE OUT OF CUSTOMS CONTROL BY FREIGHT FORWARDING PRACTIONERS: MATTERS ARISING

It is no longer news that prevailing circumstances like theon-going political transition, the slump in the international oil prices, the high exchange rate of naira, the Boko Haram insurgence and loss of market patronage at the Northern part of Nigerian are not kind to businesses in Nigeria at the moment.  It is also a fact that they pose a higher risk for practitioners to continue to finance import clearance without due consideration and crash barriers thereto put in place.

As a matter of fact, the situation has become more precarious for the simple fact that returns on investment are so minimal due to higher levels of corruption and disrespect for rule of law in the Nigerian ports and border stations. It is sad to note that following the concessioning policy, the ports and border entry points have become less competitive and less friendly to businesses. The entry points critical stakeholders are not helping matters due to non compliant attitude to import and export guidelines.

The remote cause and the greatest threat to revenue due to Government in the Customs ports is the concept and practice of funding import and export clearance by the freight agents.  It is sad to note that freight agents sit in the comfort of their offices to decide Customs duty without facts but rather go about it with untrue declarations for Customs purposes.

In the light of the situation on ground we do advise freight agents to be careful in funding any transaction related to cargo clearance out of Customs control. All receipted transactions related to cargo clearance and Customs formalities must be paid by the consignee as clearly stated in the import and export guideline of 2006 extant.

Consequently, we urge and encourage all practitioners to ensure that our principals are persuaded to be compliant to import regulations.  Invest and practice wisely with honor and integrity to avoid loss of hard earned resources to revenue traitors. We should also be very careful with Customs laws with regard to revenue due to Government which is very punitive against offenders – please see Sections 46 and 47 of Customs and Excise Management Act (Cema) for emphasis.

We wish to advise freight agents who are in the habit of turning to overnight importers with an intent to have businesses to stop because of the inherent danger and liability thereto.   Customs laws have a life span of seven years to discharge itself as may be deemed fit by the Nigeria Customs Service Board.

We therefore wish to direct accordingly that the best approach to sustainable freight forwarding practice is to be compliant to import and export regulations to protect ourselves from avoidable stress of prosecution and economic loss which may follow such infraction against the laws of the land.

We must all be patriotic to build a greater Nigeria of our dreams.

 PRINCE OBUMS ANENE

Deputy National President Seaport

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