Under Declare and Go to Jail
By Benson Davies
The Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service Col. Hammed Ali came to the Customs to restructure, reform and generate revenue for the nation. He is not happy however that his revenue generation targets are not met by his men. This insider say is caused by the rising unpatriotic attitudes of some importers and Customs agents. Worried by the development, Ali recently banned the raising of debit note (DN) on cargoes that are undeclared. He equally pleaded with men of the Nigerian Customs Service to subject all import to 100% physical examination, alleging that some multinational has abused the fast track process.
Ali gave the directive recently during a working visit to APM terminals, where 16 containers laden with tires were seized by the Apapa Port Command of the Nigerian Customs. Curiously, ten of the containers had already exited the terminal, while16 others were intercepted by officers of the command in the process of clearance.
It would be recalled that big time importers usually take possession of their cargoes under the fast track platform that was created by the Nigeria Custom to facilitate trade. This much was confirmed when Ali visited Lagos recently. For instance, a 40-foot container that was seized according to the importer contained bond papers and machinery for local production but upon examination, Customs officers discovered that the containers contained new tyres.
While addressing journalists on the decision to henceforth subject all importations to physical examination the Customs Comptroller-General noted that henceforth debit note (DN) will no longer be raised by officers on consignment that are falsely declared, and warned that henceforth such containers would be seized out rightly. Curiously, the company that imported the tyres enjoys the privilege of fast tracking method but the Customs helmsman said it was all over for the company
Besides, Ali said anybody caught with under declared consignment will not only forfeit the goods the importer/Customs agent will be charged to court automatically and if found guilty will go to jail.
According to him, the Nigeria Customs allowed most companies to enjoy the fast track privileges in order to encourage local manufacturing of their products and noted that since some importers are abusing the privilege the Nigeria Customs service has taken a position and there was no more going back on raising DN.
According to him