Abiola Seun & Peter Olaniyi
Clearing Agents operating at the nation’s seaport have bemoaned the office of the National Security Adviser of endless request for End Users Certificate (EUC) that frustrate Ease of Doing Business at the Seaport.
The End User Certificate is a document used in international transfers, including sales of arms provided as aid, of weapons and ammunition to certify that the buyer is the final recipient of the materials, and is not planning on transferring the materials to another party.
The clearing agents under the aegis of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC), blamed the National Security Adviser for imposing the EUC on the Nigerian Customs Service before any cargo can be cleared, which they alleged is against the Custom Excise and Management Acts (CEMA).
Informing that many of cargoes trapped at the nation’s seaport is a result of the EUC, stating that the demand for the EUC has resulted to revenue loss and cargo congestion as owners found it difficult to get the EUC for clearing cargoes.
Speaking with our correspondent yesterday at the Apapa port, the National Coordinator of SNFFIEC, Chief Chukwu Osita, said that freight forwarders are challenging NSA to desist from demanding EUC because it is illegal and not in line with the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), adding that a lot of cargo has been trapped in the ports as a result of the demand of EUC without considering the economic implications before approaching Customs to use the process.
He added: “However, NSA ought to have done some consultations to enable his vision as regards the usage of EUC to be actualised by putting up a bill to National Assembly for its passage so as to make it a sustainable law in the process of Customs clearance of cargo.
“We wonder why NSA has now become part of clearing of cargo or any Customs process allocated by law. Let me categorically state that a lot of bribery and corruption have labelled process of getting the EUC with ease now giving room to a lot of cargo to be trapped adding to congestion at the nation’s seaports.”
The group urged the federal government to call NSA to order and desist from interfering with Customs clearance of cargo and administration.
The group also threatened to drag the NSA to court if it failed to desist from demanding the certificate.
“Within seven days expiration of notice, if the NSA fails to desist from asking professionals from using EUC, we have no other option but to drag him to Court and seek clarification in any court of competent jurisdiction.
“We need explanation on whom give him power to be imposing EUC on the process of clearance of cargo at the ports.
“The Presidential Order 4 on ease of doing business, which was chaired by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo stated that no cargo process should be truncated even by the Presidency as long as it in line with CEMA,” he said.
He argued that if the NSA has desires to place his Internal Personal Interest (IPI) on the clearance with EUC, it would now be pertinent to note that abuse of clearing process has been incumbered.
He explained that the office of the NSA has nothing to do with clearance of cargo or any documentation but rather his office is purely internal security administration and management. He should allow Customs to do their legitimate assigned duties with other government agencies attached to the port clearance processes effectively.
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