…Says move aimed at engaging idle Comptrollers
The Nigerian Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) has said that it did not see any need for the unbundling as well as creation of new area commands recently by the management of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The President General of the association, Prince Bakare Adeyinka who stated this in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos noted that the action may have been informed by the growing number of the officers in the Comptroller cadre who were not really engaged as well as to take care of new ones who would soon join the Comptroller cadre.
He however posited that the development instead of facilitating trade would lead to unnecessary pressure on the part of the new commands in terms of meeting their revenue target as most of the new commands do not have enough cargo traffic.
In his words,” To some extent, there is no need but I think the service in its wisdom, looking at the number of officer in the Comptroller cadre that are not really engaged so to say and the new ones that are coming up, it discovered that there is the need for it to create such offices and in most cases, these offices that the service created were in existence before with majority of them being headed by AC or so.
“It is not that there are new commands, I think it is a bit of upgrading to a full-fledged command and I think that the only thing that is going to add to it is that it will now give the room for unnecessary pursuant of target that will really slow down trade instead of encouraging trade.
“For instance, Murtala Mohammed International Airport which is not handling much cargo aside from individual cargo or probably excess cargo will now put unnecessary pressure on every item that an individual is coming in with maybe for consumption or for personal use insisting that he must pay duty on those cargo thereby adding to the number of hours it takes the cargo to leave the airport in order for them to meet up the revenue target instead of them to encourage and fast track movement at the international airport.
“It is going to put a bit of pressure on the command but so far, I think it is just for the command to ensure that its people are engaged. Even before this unbundling or upgrading of these commands, we have some commands that are having problems. Let me give an example with Ondo/Ekiti axis, if you take your car on a journey and you get to Ondo/Ekiti, the command in Ondo/Ekiti stops the car and give you additional duty and give you debit note to go and pay, you have passed the hurdles before when the car came out through the seaport.
“Like I said, the unbundling will give rise to unnecessary target and put unnecessary target on those commands to want to make no matter how little at least they are able to contribute to the revenue profile of the service. That is why you see a lot of them declaring revenues that are mind blowing at the end of every month because everybody wants to prove that they are working.”
It will be recalled that the Management of Nigeria Customs Service had earlier announced the unbundling and creation of eight (8) new Area Commands within the Service with a view to enhancing administrative efficiency and boosting revenue generation for the Service.
“This visionary development is based on the outcome of the Nigeria Customs Service Board at its 50th Regular meeting held on 21st May, 2019”, the Customs Area Controller of Ogun Area command, Comptroller Michael Agbara had said in a press briefing recently.
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