Focus on revenue collection not seizure of traded goods, NAGAFF tells Ali

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The Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called on the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) to focus his administration’s attention towards revenue collection other than the seizure of traded goods over minor infringement of Section 46 and 47 of the Customs Excise and Management Act (CEMA).

The National Chairman of ACTU NAGAFF, Hon. Increase Uche who made this suggestion in a letter he addressed to the Col. Ali and made available to Primetime Reporters stated that it was to their knowledge and understanding that his mandate was to restructure, reform and enhance revenue collection adding that except goods falling under absolute prohibition, his duty at the moment was simply to restructure, reform and collect appropriate revenue over traded goods importation.

According to him,” We believe that your task is very simple and straight forward. It is to our knowledge that the Presidential mandate may have granted amnesty to Section 46 and 47 of CEMA, when he directed you to enhance revenue collection.  In our opinion, what you should do is to ensure proper
Customs examination of imports and exports with a view to ensuring transparency and accountability in revenue collection functions of the Service.

“We therefore urge you to direct all area commands to go all out to ensure collection of appropriate revenue due to the Government.  And where there are infractions with regard to untrue declaration of imports, the traded goods should be assessed and penalty imposed for such untrue declarations. The point herein canvassed is to state clearly that Mr. President may not have directed you to go and seize traded goods.

“For the avoidance of doubt, it is a fact that matters of untrue declaration are acts of smuggling.  In other words the full weight of the law other than those importers coming through unapproved routes who are believed to be smugglers are not different from imports of related offenses such as concealment, false declarations, under declaration, wrong description of imports, over invoicing and under invoicing etc entering into Nigeria through the seaports, airports and border locations.  All these negative acts are against CEMA law and attract the same or almost the same penalty which shall include but not limited to seizure, detention, prosecution, jail terms etc for the offenders.

“It is most unfortunate that up till now your various visits have not included your strategic partners.  Your task is very simple, if only you can identify your strategic allies in your mandate.  We shall soon
address you over the alleged rumbling in the Customs with regards to retirements, appointments and promotions.  The issue of Customs licensing regulation is also apt at this time.  A trip to Federal Operation and revelation therein from interventions is a pointer that corruption is in the increase due to improper Customs examination.  If the Customs examiners are patriotic and professional in the actions, the valuation unit shall resolve all disputed matters of classification and value question with ease”.

While expressing the readiness of the NAGAFF to support the current customs administration in a most responsible and constructive manner, the ACTU NAGAFF boss reminded the Customs Chief that NAGAFF was a frontline public policy advocate in the transport and freight forwarding business in Nigeria of which Nigeria Customs held onto itself a strategic position at the entry points of Nigeria.

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