The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that it would close down all the Direct Trader Input (DTI) centres nationwide by January 2016 to allow for the issuance of passwords to customs license agencies.
At a stakeholders’ meeting with the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali at Apapa, Lagos on Monday, a representative of the DTI operators had raised a concern over the way and manner fraudsters had been infiltrating through their ranks and using an authorised platform to commit fraudulent acts thereby giving them a bad name calling on the Customs to undertake an audit of the DTI operators with the aim of identifying the fraudsters among them.
Responding on behalf of the CGC, DCG Akin Adewuyi stated that the closure of the existing DTI centres and subsequent issuance of passwords to Customs licensed agencies would enable the service to trace anyone who engaged in any fraudulent practice with the aid of his license, investigate and punish such a person.
Speaking on the rate of duty payable on imports in the country, DCG Adewuyi while maintaining that the World Customs Organization (WCO) cannot impose duty rates on members States however explained that Nigeria operates the common External Tariff (CET) alongside other West African States because of certain peculiarities it has for the benefit of citizens of West Africa which included jobs creation and protection of their markets from serving as a dumping ground for goods rejected in other parts of the world.
He explained that certain declarations attracts alerts in order to warn officers at the examination bay to be careful while conducting such examinations and to report back to headquarters their findings.
He advised licensed customs agents to ask their importers to state exactly what their actual declarations were since the enforcement of extant regulations was coming to take the front burner adding that, “this is to avoid unpleasant repercussions”.
The DCG further counselled that disputes arising from declarations, especially after physical examinations, should be referred to the Conflicts Resolution Committee at the CPC, for proper and swift arbitration.
On the issue of benchmark introduction for some categories of imports, He disclosed that Customs was presently putting together some data to be used in generating a benchmark, which was initially rejected by the freight forwarders when it was first introduced some years back saying that this was being done because WCO, at its June 2015 meeting, had allowed introduction of benchmark to stem fraudulent practices and revenue leakages.
He therefore informed the stakeholders that the times had changed and urged them to imbibe the change mantra of the government of the day to make the best out of their time and money.
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