Abiola Seun & Peter Olaniyi
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) and its management team for lack of professionalism.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday, the Vice President of ANLCA, Mr. Kayode Farinto said a fresh management team should be appointed to give the service direction.
Farinto alleged that since the present CGC came on board, there have been arbitrary demand notice being slammed on importers, adding that Customs agents now face several bottlenecks in the clearance of goods which is against the ease of doing business.
He further alleged that there are so many intervention squads, including the Customs CG taskforce, that intercept consignments that have already been cleared in a commando form.
Farinto argued that the present management team need to be rejuvenated and the only thing that should be done is to sack the management team led by Ali and reconstitute a new vibrant management team.
He said the country is now faced with a situation where it seems the Customs management team is above the law.
According to him “They need to change the Customs management team now. You recall vividly that the CG of Customs has been appointed by the Commander in Chief and there are lot of issues on that.
“We are meant to believe that he was going to add value, I want to say that this current Customs management team is not adding value.
“The present Customs management lacks professionalism and what we now have is arbitrary demand notice being slammed on importers. We now have a situation where consignment that has been released by the same Customs is been intercepted in a commando form. We have a situation where the maritime industry has been turn to barbaric industry.
“We now have too many interventions of Customs even consignment that has gone through examination. We all know the horrendous task we go through to examine a cargo. We do not have scanners, what we do is 100 percent physical examination.
“After a set containers have been examined, we have a situation where the CG has a taskforce within the port, they stop consignment, the same CG taskforce is outside the ports, you can see them in Area B and mile 2. We have compliance team of the same taskforce,
“We have Federal operation units. Federal operation units smartly in the last one week now increase their unit and called another one SWAT as if we are in America. The full meaning of SWATT we do not know but you need to see the kind of hassles our members go through at night.
“The commando style with which these units intercept containers that leaves the ports” he said.
Farinto also informed that against contrary opinions that the borders are closed, he said smugglers still smuggle in contraband.
” Meanwhile, our borders continue to remain porous. If you want to appreciate what I’m saying, come to Egbeda at 5:30am, you will see how turkey have been moved to the country unchecked. Meanwhile, the legitimate ones that paid this duty are still been disturbed within the ports”
Farinto who also doubles as a member of the board of Council of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CRFFN) lamented that in the last 48 hours agents could not make declaration stating that the Customs command is always giving excuse of upgrading it’s system
” This team does what they like. In the last 24 hours, agents cannot make declaration. They tell us that they are upgrading their system. which they have failed to upgrade over the weekend, leading to demurrage charges
“The big question is who pays the demurrage? The question is theoretical because it is the importers that pay and they transfer it to final consumers. It is unprofessional and uncalled for.
“Agents believe that their leaders have been compromised. There is need to rejuvenate the current Customs management team.
He urged the President to voluntary retire the CG and its present management team and look for a vibrant Assistant Controller who will take over as the new Customs CG
While stating that It is an aberration to have a non career officer as the Controller General of Customs
“I want to suggest that from the rank of CG and DCGs, they should be retired because they are tired. We look for young vibrant Assistant Controller General or Controller of Customs to become the CG of Customs.
“By the time you inject new blood, professionalism comes in, you have efficiency”
Farinto further informed that in the last four years, the present CG and his managerial team has failed to call for a stakeholders meeting which had led to the way the customs officers behave
“The CGs and DGCs are tired and they are no longer adding value” he stated
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