- NAGAFF Compliance Team urges Customs to prevent demurrage losses
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team has observed a 7% drop in revenue generated by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), attributing the shortfall to the uncertainties surrounding the impending transition into a new presidential administration, a ban on Form M transactions opened via First Bank, among other factors.
According to the freight forwarding group, the import duty exemption granted to multinationals have also contributed to the drop in Customs revenue.
Speaking in a press conference earlier today, the Team’s National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, advised the Minister of Finance to review multinationals exemption from Customs duty even as he encouraged the Minister not to pressurize the Customs Service over the decline in revenue generated in recent months.
Tanko expressed worry that an unfair pressure on NCS to generate more revenue may lead the officials to overburden freight forwarders with frivolous charges in a bid to collect more earnings.
“For more than 2 weeks, Customs have blocked the processing of Form M from First Bank. This has become worrisome because there is an alternative option which is generating area code to enable affected agents make the Customs duty payment and reconcile transactions using other banks. However, Customs have refused to allow port users access this alternative.”
“The consequence of this ban and Customs refusal to use alternative options will be that the affected importers and freight agents will have to pay demurrage and storage charges arising from the delays. Customs should allow freight agents use the alternative means of payment to avoid demurrage and consequent inflation,” Tanko said.
He observed that due to the impending change in government, importers are afraid of bringing in goods as they are not sure of the new administration’s policies while other importers are wary of making declarations for boxes already on ground because of Customs threat of falling revenue.
Worried about the country’s trade imbalance, Tanko stressed that the nation doesn’t have to continue its overdependence on importation while neglecting local industries and opportunities for exports.
“We appeal to the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd) to assist in the training of young freight forwarders. This is to enable them to fully understand customs process and operations, turning them into bonafide professionals,” he added.