The Tincan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has described as ill-informed the allegations that the new Area Controller, Comptroller Musa Baba Abdullahi, has introduced a very harsh blueprint that raises tariff on importation and was frustrating the ease of doing business order.
Accusing Abdullahi of high-handedness, Customs agents at the command had insisted that imported goods with classification error should be referred to Quarry and Amendment for Debit Note (DN) rather than a blanket clampdown on the job, aimed at extorting revenue even from jobs without classification issues.
They maintain that once Customs issues a PAAR based on what is stated in the invoice, the area controller has no legal right to sit on a job claiming that the rates are low, because any arbitrary allocation of rates will hit harder at the economy.
Also, they condemned Abdullahi’s alleged attempt to introduce a non-gazette tariff, stating that he ordered all the assistant controllers to ensure that jobs were not expressly released and that clearing documents must be in their custody for at least three days to allow for proper examination.
To that end, the terminal operators were said to now drop as few as between seven and 12 boxes a day for examination, while consignments continued to incur demurrage as the 24-hour cargo delivery target has been jettisoned.
However, the command has explained that the new area controller was rather re-jigging the process to ensure compliance with fiscal policies and expeditious release of cargo.
According to the Command Public Relations Officer, Mr. Uche Ejesieme, “this is why he introduced the ‘Time Release Study,’ a concept targeted at ensuring that there are no impediments to the trade value chain.”
It is “to the extent that SGDs would be monitored electronically from the point of lodgment through capture to examination and exit, with a view to identifying areas of delay for immediate redress for the realisation of 48-hour clearance mandate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the CAC has not and does not have the unilateral powers to hike tariff as being inferred. He is only urging compliance with fiscal policies as panacea to realising our mandate. We advise that stakeholders endeavour to engage us for explanation on issues agitating their minds.
“It may also interest us to note that the CAC has directed the dispute resolution committee to sit daily for the resolution of disputes on valuation, classification and PAAR.”