Clearing Agents Urge FG To Open Border for Legitimate Imports

Abiola Seun    |     

As the land border closure lingers, the Federal Government has been enjoined to clear the legitimate goods that are currently stranded at the borders, having being ordered way before the directive.

It was gathered that multi-million-naira worth of perishable goods have already rotten at the borders, while a significant number of other goods are still lying fallow hopelessly.

The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), in a letter to the presidency, sought urgent intervention for goods held up at the border that have undergone legal process of Form ‘M’, transaction payment of duty and transit clearance.

The letter, signed by its president, Lucky Amiwero, read in part: “…We hereby appeal for the Federal Government’s intervention on goods held up at the borders in which most of them are covered under the import clearance procedure.

“They have obtained Form ‘M’, issued with Pre-Arrival Assessment report (PAAR), paid import duties and have undergone transit clearance in line with the import guidelines covered under Section 3 of the Pre- shipment Inspection Act that authorized the process.

“Some of the goods held up at the border are legal originating goods from third country covered under common external tariff, that have been subjected to legal import guideline procedures, with some of the goods issued with Form ‘M’, import duty paid while awaiting normal exit clearance to assess Nigerian corridor.

“At the time of importation and process of those goods at the border, there was no circular restricting the goods, which was done almost immediately.

“The closure should have been backed by a circular to the trading public before the closure, so as to comply with Section 18 of the Customs and Excise Management Act C 45 of 2004, the (WCO) Kyoto Convention Chapter 9 and WTO Article X, which addressed trade information in advance, these should have eliminated the present difficulties experience by the trading public on the stranded goods.

“Furthermore, most goods that are still at the border are on the top of the trailers accruing demurrages and rent in the port at the country of transit, after obtaining Form ‘M’ and shipment is expected to transit to Nigeria,” he stated.

He however, urged the Federal Government to set up committee to check the legitimate goods that are subjected to Nigerian import laws and to allow the passage to relieve the trading public from huge demurrage cost and rents.

“We hereby appeal as respected member of Presidential and Ministerial Committee on Customs Reform, Destination Inspection Committee, Import Clearance Procedures, and feel concerned about the huge loss that is occasioned by the border closure.”

“While we are not contesting the fact that a lot of unwholesome practices exist at the border, we appeal to the Federal Government to look into the complexities of the closure and address legitimate Importers/ Licensed Customs Agent to relieve them of the present burden of cost and save lives,” he said.

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