The Nigeria Customs service says while it is committed to the quick and immediate clearance of goods at the ports, the dishonest attitude of some importers/exporters and clearing agents who are disobeying the compliance rules constitute a clog in the wheel of progress. It accused many of them of presenting false data, inaccurate figures, fictitious values, smuggling of prohibited goods and deliberate falsehood of the contents of their cargoes.
This was stated at a press conference at the Apapa Area 1 Command by Comptroller Yusuff Malanta and Deputy National PRO of Customs, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi.
In a paper entitled, “Trade Facilitation, A Tool for Enhanced Revenue Generation: The NSC Perspective, DC Bomodi told the agents to be honest in their dealings with the Customs as they can no longer continue with business as usual, as it is no longer possible for anyone to hide facts of transactions in their declaration for Customs purposes. He said they should stop living in the illussion of getting away with their sharp practices, advising them that with correct presentation of their documents, they will easily cleared their goods.
DC Bomodi said the experiences in Commands like Apapa, Tin Can and others this year have shown that when compliance is enforced things work for everybody and appealed to all agents to take advantage of the opportunities offer by Customs for expedited clearance.
He said over 90 percent of Customs activities have been automated, while the e-customs project which will provide end to end automation aimed at eliminating physical contact will commence next year.
DC Bomodi said while Customs acknowledges the positive co-relationship between trade facilitation and increased revenue generation, however in a predominantly non-compliant environment as exhibited by most of the agents, it will be unwise to sacrifice control for facilitation.
He said trade compliance goes beyond revenue collection as it touches on the validity and authenticity of the data that is fed into the Customs system. DC Bomodi said in the outgoing year, Customs has been able to achieve remarkable success through the diligence and hard work of its Officers and the support of key stakeholders.
For instance Customs has surpassed the onerous task of the 1.679trillion revenue earmarked for it, as over 2.3trillion naira has been generated, which is expected to increase before the year ends.
All these achievements are however at a great cost as Customs lost some of his men due to the increase activities of smugglers while some are nursing injuries. DC Bomodi appealed to people living in the border communities to see men of the Customs as friends and not foes who are performing the onerous tasks assign to them.