Clearing agents operating at the Tin-Can Island ports, have accused the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) compliance team of impeding trade facilitation by slamming Debit Note (DN) on already cleared cargoes.
The agents also alleged that the team had taken over the responsibility of Customs valuation unit. They called on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to intervene in activities of the team at the Tin-Can Island command of the service.
Customs’ compliance team, which was created in 2019, is the brainchild of the Customs Area Controller, Compt. Musa Baba Abdulahi, to arrest infractions in duty payments by importers and clearing agents before they exit the seaport.
Worried by the activities of the team, a clearing agent, Chukwu Nwanne, said that the compliance team was against trade facilitation as entrenched by the CGC. He said:”When you obtain valuation, before your document gets to where you want to release, the team has already issued you a Debit Note (DN), wanting you to come and negotiate.
The major challenge we have right now is that the compliance team which was established by the Area Controller is strangulating importers. They are not doing what they are created to do. What they ought to be doing is to pinpoint to the Controller on any infraction.
“The valuation department of Tin Can Island command has lost their relevance because whenever they issue value on cargoes, it doesn’t hold water. the compliance team are now the one giving DN to clearing agents. Which should we now follow? This is duplication of duty.
The compliance team was created because of importers that under-declare their cargoes, and the compliance team was supposed to be dealing with the noncompliant importers and their agents and in some cases, give DN to those near compliance in order to regulate the business