Customs set to clamp down on private DTI centres


The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has said that it will soon commence clamp down on all private Direct Trader Inputs (DTI) centres still in operation after an order closing them down and declaring their activities illegal was issued about two years ago by the Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.).

The Assistant Comptroller-General in-charge of Zone A, ACG Kaycee Ekezie who made this known while playing host to the leadership of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who paid her a courtesy visit in her office on Friday said that the attention of the service had been drawn to the illegal existence of the DTI centres adding that it would take action against them.

Ekezie charged the agents to volunteer information to the service on the location of such centre in order to make the job easier for it even as she urged them not to keep quiet.

In her words,” By the way, we just noticed that private DTIs are still operating but I remember that they were shut down in 2017 or so but some of them are still operating. If you know where they are, if you know something, say something, don’t keep quiet; let us know where they are. If you have information that will help us so that our job will be seamless, please send to us because we don’t like oh my job is being delay, oh customs is delaying my job, it’s painful when we hear some of these things and there is no need for this because we have tried to put a lot of things to facilitate trade.

“In fact I just heard one few day ago and I could not believe it, happening in the PAAR ruling centre and I could not believe it. If you hear or see anything, be specific, you don’t have to write it and read it in an assembly like this, you could just come and whisper and see if it could not be taken up. The CGC has been saying, I want to have a senior officer to sack to show others that I am serious. He says it all the time and he means it because it is painful that 32 containers will leave a port on transit to a nearby terminal and they vanish on the way and I bet you, whenever these things happen, there must be connivance somewhere”.

She however warned her guests to keep an eye on all their staff working with them as some of them hacked into their passwords and use them to carry out illegal transactions in the name of the company without the knowledge of their bosses.

“When you see office code Enugu, it wasn’t done in Enugu; it was done right in your office. All they need do is to put the office code and it will appear there”, she added.

Earlier in his address, the National President of ANLCA, Chief Tony Iju Nwabunike represented by the National Vice President of the association, Dr. Kayode Farinto noted that the smuggling syndicates had perfected cyber hacking modalities in connivance with unscrupulous customs officers where the private passwords of their members were routinely hacked into and changed for a period of time usually three days to one week when the fraud was usually perpetuated.

Nwabunike recalled that over 300 licenses of his members including his were presently being suspended by the service even as he recalled that his immediate predecessor, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, having found himself in the same predicament as he found himself, led ANLCA on an appeal to the service wherein the Comptroller-General directed DCG Enforcement to head a joint NCS/ANLCA Committee and that their hacked licenses should be released to them pending customs final investigation.

“The recent CGC appeal for downward review of fairly used vehicles duty rate is highly commendable. ANLCA prayer which have been sent through the appropriate quarters to the Federal Government is to advise the implementation of Ghanaian model on vehicle importation regime whereby the newer the vehicle, the lower the duty. This will streamline the present auto policy”, he said.

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