The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has announced a ban on evacuation of containers by barges, however stakeholders have kicked towards the decision. The port business community has additionally stated the ban is inimical to maritime business development, saying the decision was retroactive. The directive to ban contained in a circular No. 12 E11/2020 with reference NCS/ENF/ABJ/058/S.23 titled, ‘‘Use of barges For Evacuation of Containers Into and Out of Our Ports’’, dated 12th March 2020, was signed by Deputy Comptroller General in charge of Enforcement, Inspection & Investigation, DCG Austin Chidi, on behalf of the Comptroller General of Customs, CGC, Col Hameed Ali (retired).
The circular was addressed to all Deputy Comptroller Generals, DCGs, Assistant Comptroller Generals, ACGs, Zonal Coordinators, Customs Area Controllers, Controllers Federal Operations Units, Controllers Marine Instructions, CGC Strike Force Commanders, Border Drill Sector Coordinators and all Heads of Units. A number of the stakeholders stated instead of outright ban the Customs administration ought to have put stricter controls in use of barges to prevent illegalities whereas making certain that thorough investigation is carried out to make sure that these concerned are brought to book. Stakeholders had been miffed that whereas Nigeria is but to emerge from the financial strangulation imposed by the closure of the nation’s land borders on the recommendation of the Customs, they’ve continued to conduct the affairs of income generation as a do or die affair, plunging the economy into needless disaster.
Reacting, a former Assistant Comptroller Normal of Customs who doesn’t need his identify talked about requested the Customs administration in the event that they intend to cease container supply by the port gates on account of seizures of containers by the Federal Operations Models and CGC Strike Force Teams that exit the seaports frequently. He asked as well as, since when has it turn into impossible for Customs or any authorities company to investigate and decide the culpability of all these concerned? He acknowledged: ‘‘Customs ought to fish out offenders, officers, brokers and others involved; suggest them for acceptable punishment or prosecution. ‘‘If Customs fail to do the needful, then they’ve failed and needs to be so instructed.
They need to not disturb the movement of professional commerce and congest the ports thereby creating extra issues for the sick economic system. Member, Board of Trustees of the Affiliation of Nigeria Licensed Customs Brokers, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha stated, ‘‘For a barge to perform in conveyance of containers, the corporate concerned has to register with all related authorities businesses ascending from Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Company, NIMASA, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Nationwide Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA and many others, the place then can the unlawful diversion come from? ‘‘Just lately six containers on truck had been declared lacking, had been they conveyed by barges? The place is the entry highway for vehicles to ply by from side to side to drop and cargo containers? Is it against the law to decide on clearing and forwarding as a way of livelihood? Contributing, former Nationwide President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Ernest Elochukwu stated, what is going on is concerning the system.
What will we make of unrealistic fiscal insurance policies, a revenue-target programmed and motivated Customs compounded by a visibly traumatized service rendered comatose by naked selfish ambitions? One other stakeholder instructed that the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, ought to step in and get the Customs to reverse itself. He acknowledged: “The Customs management group is so short sighted to the extent that you simply see many contradicting circulars from them on the same subject and sadly the CGC is confused.
“The DCG that signed this circular can by no means defend it. The same man that signed this circular stationed his officers simply few meters to the ports, performing examination on already release cargoes at Mile 2 and Space B in Apapa axis. “I wish to implore Nigerian Shippers Council to return to the aid of customs brokers to solve this problem because it’s apparent that Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, and the freight forwarding associations can not remedy it,” he noted.