Customs may fuel outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in maritime industry, Farinto warns


The Vice President of the Association of the Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto has hinted on how the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) may fuel the outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic in the maritime industry.

Farinto in a chat with our correspondent stated that if there is an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the industry, the NCS should be held responsible.

He said the failure of the Service to invoke section 28 and 29 of the Customs Excise and Management Act which gives customs the power to invoke the ‘Bill of Sight’ especially at a time when the country is battling the dreadful pandemic is disturbing.

He said with the Bill of Sight, this will help reduce human contacts which may leads to the spread of the pandemic in the maritime industry and the entire country at large.

Farinto said despite letters written to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Minister of Transportation, the customs CG has failed to invoke the law, describing the customs hierarchy as set of confused people.

According to him, “If there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in the maritime industry, the NCS should be held responsible, we are in a period of war and we suggested that let us invoke section 28 and 29 of the CEMA law which says that let us use Bill of Sight.

“And what is bill of sight? It means if this man is an importer, he has a bill of lading, he may not need to go through the process of obtaining a PAAR or Form M, he can go to wherever his cargo is and position his cargo for examination, the valuation unit and all the various unit will look at the examination and the valuation unit will give him a duty to go and pay and he will pay his duty instantly and carry his cargo.

“Why do they need to invoke the Bill of Sight at this period? Number one, it reduces human contact; secondly, it will also reduce the number of intervention from customs unit. We get alerts from the Nigeria customs Controllers’ office, we get alert from the Valuation Department, alert from CIU, alert from Abuja and alert from PCA; about seven alert on one cargo and if we are able to achieve this, all these will stop. All we need to do is to invoke that section, the law is already there based on the fact that we are in a pandemic period, we are invoking section 28 and 29 of the CEMA Act.

“Nobody should do any documentation to reduce human contact, a committee can be setup which can be called Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee at every command level that may comprise the Valuation, the CPC and the gate officer and once the committee treats that job, nobody touches the consignment again. But it is not done, customs still believe that they are pursuing that target and that’s why I said if there is an outbreak of Covid-19 in the maritime industry, they should be held responsible because every other department had actually keyed in except customs.

“We have sent a letter to Boss Mustapha that this particular section should be invoked. As I talk to you, nothing has been done about it, we have sent letters to the Minister of Transport and up till now nothing has been done about it because I believe that we have a custom management that is high-handed and that is why I described the present customs’ management as

“They are not professionals because what is on ground now everywhere in the whole world will key in, fashion out what is the way forward because if you look at what is happening in the oil and gas industry, if the maritime industry collapses then that’s the end of Nigeria economy but they are not seeing it that way. They are still pursuing the imaginary target A and target B which is for selfish and pecuniary gain because it does not cause government anything to invoke that section 28 by using bill of sight and in fact it is very possible that government may even generate more revenue than expected”, he said.

Photo: The Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto.

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