Customs moves to check abuse of fast track scheme by importers

by | December 13, 2017 12:16 am

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it has introduced new guidelines that must be met before a company would be considered eligible to enjoy its fast track scheme.

Aminu Dahiru, assistant comptroller general in charge of Zone A of the NCS, disclosed this last week, when a delegation from the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) paid him a working visit to his office in Lagos.

He said the new guidelines became imperative following incessant abuse of the scheme by importers and their agents.

Dahiru recalled that the 10 containers of tyres which got missing at the port recently were due to the abuse of the fast track scheme by the importer.

“We have facilities like fast track, which are meant well for importers but they are been abused in collaboration between somebody who claims to be a manufacturer and a clearing agent,” he said.

“A company was registered with fake address in May and by June; it was qualified to be on fast track. What happens to other regulations, condition set for you to be qualified? This was the case where 10 containers of tyres got missing.

“A customs officer will not have a way of going against the Service if such an idea did not come from an agent. Thank God the Service has released new guidelines on fast track.”

The customs boss appealed to members of NAGAFF and other freight forwarding associations to desist from all form of trade malpractices militating against customs operations to enhance the ease of doing business at the port.

He urged them to be professionals by ensuring total compliance to the import and export guidelines.

“If we cooperate, we stand to be the beneficiaries because the fast track scheme and the Post Clearance Audit is intended to facilitate trade but instead of us to be using them judiciously as the law required, we are all abusing them,” he said.

Earlier, Increase Uche, President of the association, said the visit was to further strengthen the existing mutual relationship between NAGAFF and the Zone.

He however appealed to the Customs boss to intervene on the operations of the Federal Operations Unit especially on the interception of already cleared consignments at the ports.

“During your tenure as the coordinator of the Zone, it shall be our desire that you should be able to address some of the issues pertaining to irregularities in customs examination and cargo release at the port.

“A situation whereby container duly examined and released by a proper customs officer at the port is arrested by another set of customs officers attached to the FOU is not in tandem with the mindset of the government on the policy of ease of doing business,” he said.

Uzoamaka Anagor-Ewuzie