- Says Agents contribute to billions Customs generate monthly
(Report by Udeme Clement):
The National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100 percent Compliance team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, has called on the Federal Government to give Licensed Customs Agents and freight forwarders five percent of monthly revenue collected by Customs as incentives for compliance with trade policies.
This, he said will boost their investments in the maritime sector and encourage more Agents to comply fully with government fiscal policies on cargo clearance procedures from the ports.
Alhaji Tanko, who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Ibraleo Nigeria limited, made this known in a chat with maritime Journalists.
He explained; “Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generates billions of Naira as revenue for government through the efforts of Licensed Customs Agents, who are compliant traders carrying out honest declaration and paying appropriate import duty during cargo clearance. As such, these compliant traders deserve incentives to keep their companies afloat”.
He pointed out: “For instance, my company handles cargo clearance worth over N21 million every month. This huge amount goes to the coffers of government as revenue collected by Customs. There are other companies doing the same thing.
So, government should encourage us in the business. If they cannot give up to five percent, at least let two percent be given to us.
“This is very important because it will encourage other Agents to ensure 100 percent Compliance, which means more revenue for government.”
Responding to questions on the call for creation of Ministry of Maritime Affairs, he said:
“We don’t need a new Ministry for maritime now because we already have ministries of Finance and Transportation for this sector. For example, licensed Customs Agents are issued licenses by Customs, which is under Finance Ministry, while freight forwarders are answerable to Ministry of Transportation.
“So, it is left for both Ministries to come together and decide which one should license Agents. Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), is saddled with the responsibility of regulating activities of freight Forwarders in the country; but CRFFN is not active at all.
“Now the question is; can a freight forwarder operate without a license ?
The answer is no !
But a freight forwarders can operate for years without even knowing where CRFFN office is located. This shows that the Council is almost non-existent.”
Assessing the performance of freight forwarding sub-sector from January to June 2021, in terms of human capital development,
Alhaji Tanko, lamented that the sector has not impacted positively on welfare of local operators.
His words :
The truth is that things are getting worst because of sharp practices going on in the ports. We are facing numerous challenges in the system because of corruption in the port.
In fact, some people are not even ready to do the right thing and if you talk, they see you as a threat. Many local companies are closing down due to harsh operating environment.”