The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has commenced a three day training to equip its members on the operations of the Direct Traders Input (DTI) operated privately by the Customs licensed Agencies.
The training which commenced Tuesday with the first batch of fifty participants ended Thursday with the training for the second batch to commence next week at the Taiwo Afolabi Hall of the Dikko Inde Abdullahi House at the National Secretariat of the association.
The training which will eventually move to Port-Harcourt, Abuja and later to Kano was organized sequel to the decision of Customs management to shut down all commercial DTIs, an action that caught majority of Customs Agents unawareness leading to the plea for a grace period to enable them tidy up and seek alternative means of data capturing or making their declarations on behalf of their importers.
It will be recalled that following the plea by the customs agents, the Customs management lifted the shutdown of commercial DTIs for about two weeks with the hope that thereafter, a lasting solution would have been found to deal with the revenue leakages and security threats.
Latching on this, ANLCA decided to invite all members of the association to a three day training program on the operations of DTI with the hope that after the training, they would have been sufficiently equipped to apply to Customs to own and operate their private DTIs securely.
Visiting on one of the training days, the Customs Zonal Coordinator Zone A, Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs (ACG) Charles Edike who came to assess the training went down memory lane to recount his experience with some commercial DTI Operators when he was Customs Area Comptroller of Tin Can Island Port Command.
He stated that while at Tin Can, he received various complaints from customs agents about their licenses being used indiscriminately to release cargoes without due process and without the knowledge and consent of the owners of the license prompting him to investigate the matter using the instrumentality of his monitoring team, which reported in the affirmative that the criminal act, actually exist.
He thereafter set to stop the illegal practice, when it was confirmed that a particular DTI was used to break through the Customs zone from the Traders Zone and released ten containers illegally.
He went further to disclose that since then, Customs became aware of this practice thus the decision to plug the loopholes.
ACG Edike commended the foresight of the leadership of ANLCA for the initiative and promised to support the effort in order for both Nigeria customs and the agents to be on the same page for the ultimate benefit of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The ACG who had been Area Comptroller at Tin Can, PTML, MMIA and the premier port of Apapa Commands at various times, enjoined all participants to take the training very seriously urging licensed customs agents to ensure that they continuously practice everything they had learnt in order to be proficient at it thereby avoid unauthorized users access to their dedicated passwords.
Responding, the National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu said that ANLCA would always appreciate ACG Charles Edike for his show of affection for especially ANLCA adding that ACG Edike who is an honorary member of ANLCA had always identified himself with ANLCA and constantly adorned his uniform proudly with the broach of great ANLCA.
Prince Shittu informed the ACG that ANLCA took the initiative to let the customs management know that ANLCA was their major partner in their avowed commitment to raising and sustaining revenue collection for the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“All that ANLCA requires from Nigeria Customs Service is to identify with ANLCA and ensure a consistent training and capacity building of its membership, so that together, trade facilitation can be enhanced to international best practices level”.
Prince Shittu however urged every participant to take the training very serious as the it was key to customs brokers’ operations at the ports and border stations and to guide against the misuse of their customs licenses.
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