Ease of Doing Business: NECA berates Nigeria  Customs over Hindrances


Chinazor Megbolu

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has berated the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for hindering ease of doing business at the nation’s port.

The organisation, in a statement at the weekend  accused the NCS) for unnecessarily delaying the clearance of imported raw materials at the ports.

NECA had alleged that the attitude of the officers and men of the government agency hinders ease of doing business at the ports corridors.

The Director-General, NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale, noted that it is a known fact that the global economy is on the precipice, which had made countries doing all necessities towards keeping their productive industry going.

According to him: “recent incessant issues with the NCS 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”.

He explained that despite the operational challenges faced by businesses, instead of NCS officers to facilitate enterprise competitiveness according to the federal government’s policy on ease of doing business, they turned 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.

“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 Nigeria’s businesses and make importation of manufactured goods more attractive with grave consequences for Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole,” Olawale said .

Meanwhile, the NCS through the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Attah in his clarification has said there has been a change in the exchange rate hence the allegations.

“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. It’s the dollar that has changed. You bought the goods in dollar, the duty is calculated in dollar and paid in naira equivalent, ” he said.

On the improper valuation of consignments and reckless interception of containers after legitimate clearance, the NCS described it as a simple check and balance operation.

“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,” he said.

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