The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said that it would cooperate with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on very good standing and equal strength to meet its annual revenue target of N2 trillion in 2020 provided the Service plays by the rule and not to arm-twist traders.
The National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Abdulazeez Babatunde Mukaila who made this pledge while briefing newsmen on the 2020 revenue target for NCS at the ANLCA National Secretariat in Lagos on Friday said that “customs can target N10 trillion, it has every right to target whatever it wants to target provided it does what is called trade facilitation.”
Mukaila observed that if the Service was not arm-twisting people to get at that target, there was nothing wrong if it sought to set any amount as its annual revenue target even as he pointed out that the duty of the ANLCA President as the leader of NECOM was to make sure that they put customs on its toes to facilitate trade while it was looking for its target.
On how the crisis in the association had impacted on the members as regards their relationship with NCS officials, the National Secretary stated that “the distractions have gone a long way to weaken the standpoint of ANLCA. As journalists, you would have read where the President will say A and somebody will rise by 12am to 1am and write something else. So, if we have a constitution that binds us and it is very clear, so all this distractions have contributed to what we are having now.
Section 2 of this (ANLCA) constitution says that the constitution shall be inherently and adherently ex-supreme and its provisions shall be binding on all persons or authorities subject to this association. No one says anything unless the President directs especially as regards peace. But you all know that when the President is saying I am doing this, another person is saying something else somewhere. So, these distractions have whittled down the position of ANLCA and that is why the President in his own wisdom is bending backwards to say okay, let us accommodate ourselves, let us forget about all this misgivings, let us work for the betterment of members of ANLCA.
“ANLCA will get back, ANLCA has always gotten back on her feet and this distraction will not be an exception. I want to still say that this year, customs will facilitate trade and they will get what they deserve but we will not allow them to arm-twist Nigerian traders to arrive at that target. They will collect appropriate duty, not a duty to enable them get to their target.”
On whether he is pledging that ANLCA would help customs achieve its revenue target, he said, “I am not pledging to help them, I am saying if what they deserve to have is N700 million that is what they are going to get. We are not going to sit and watch them fabricate position out of the book.
“Presently, do you know that if there is an argument about is this (phone) a computer because you can use it to send a mail, you can print from this to a printer or is this a phone and a customs officer is telling you because for example, a phone pays 5 percent and a computer pays 20 percent, he is going to come up as a man who wants the highest revenue to tell you that because this thing can do what a computer does, it is no more a phone, it is a computer. He will tell you a phone is just to make calls.
“Now, when that argument is ongoing, customs will tell you now that you have called it a phone instead of a computer, you are going to pay 20 percent computer pays, then they are going to slam you another 25 percent as penalty. Do you know this is a borderline argument? Now, they are making 20 percent as computer, then another 25 percent as penalty for calling it wrong name and this is a borderline argument. That is what they have been doing to help them meet their target. That will stop. A borderline argument is a borderline argument. If somebody does a willful wrong declaration, the law says you can slam him or her that penalty to discourage such person or corporate entity from willfully calling red blue but not when there is an argument to settle.
“Somebody calls non-alcoholic drinks beverages and somebody says no, you cannot generalize, this thing is water and they are saying the same thing, then you gave him 25 percent for calling it non-alcoholic beverages and that is what water is because it falls under non-alcoholic beverages and if you generalize that statement, you are good to go because of course it is not alcoholic but customs will arm-twist you and give 25 percent penalty because they must hit that target.
“So, ANLCA is going to do what we need to do to cooperate with customs on very good standing and equal strength, we will help them if they are ready to play by the rule not to arm-twist traders.”
Photo: ANLCA National Secretary, Alhaji Abdulazeez Babatunde Mukaila.
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