Ease of doing business: Customs boss tells importers to ensure honest declaration …APFFLON calls on government agencies to ensure full implementation of policy

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Ease of doing business: Customs boss tells importers to ensure honest declaration

.APFFLON calls on government agencies to ensure full implementation of policy

By Udeme Clement

Comptroller Shoboiki addressing the participants:
From left: The Founder of NAGAFF, DR. Boniface Aniebonam and Comptroller Shoboiki at the summit, yesterday:

“Ease of doing business has become a principal issue in international trade chain.  As we all know, trade is one of the fundamental aspects of revenue generation in a robust economy. The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, is one of the leading government agencies saddled with the responsibility of borders/ports control and revenue collection.

“Therefore, Customs is empowered by law to collect duties and taxes according to description or classification of every shipment, and to confiscate prohibited items, as well as smuggled goods.”

These were the words of the Customs Area Controller, CAC, Murtala Muhammed Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Comptroller Jayne Shoboiki (PhD), while addressing stakeholders on the AVIMAR Summit 2019, with the theme, ‘The Relevance of government agencies in Aviation/Maritime industry on ease of doing business in Nigeria’.organised by Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON.

Comptroller Shoboiki informed, ”The emergence of e-business/e-transactions around the world makes Nigeria government to ensure that its agencies comply with basic rules of engagement in effective management of the trade circle”.

She explained, “The measures put in place by Customs include coordinated border management. The Service was able to synergise with other government agencies, in order to ease the bottlenecks experienced during clearance of goods, by ensuring that joint examination of cargo is often carried out. This becomes imperative to fast track clearance processes.

“Customs also ensures simplification of processes through ICT based hub where all relevant government agencies are hinged to either access information or attach documentary requirements. That way, Customs immediately sees such permits or clearance documents and quickly release same without further referrals.”

Speaking further on the role of the business men, she pointed out, “Customs has realised that it cannot perform its statutory functions effectively without the cooperation of not only relevant government agencies but also other stakeholders, as well as Captains of industries. These include importers, exporters, transporters and manufacturers alike.

“Therefore, it is imperative that the business man complies with the laws by declaring the content and value of his shipments appropriately. As a compliant trader whose business is to import or export, it is required that he follows due process and procedures as provided by government.

“This is very important because wrong declaration and concealment detected either by means of document or physical examination will hinder the clearing process and cause delay or even confiscation of goods. I believe no trader wants to lose his good or money.  Therefore, my advice is that we stay away from playing smart in this era of digital clearance and intelligence gathering.”

On the role of freight forwarders, Comptroller Shoboiki emphasisied, “Freight forwarders play a very vital role as middlemen between Customs and importers. They are major stakeholders in the transport sector and are expected to know better.

“I am appealing to freight forwarders to always give professional advice and accurate information about the current situation at every point in the trade chain. The importer or business man will always come and go, but your licenses are on Customs server.  Wrong declaration , short-payment, theft or smuggling may land you in trouble, or get your licenses blacklisted.  I am convinced that none of you will like such to happen.”

From right: The President of APFFLON  with another guest on the high table:

In his speech, the National President of APFFLON, Mr Frank Ogunojemite said, “It is not mere coincidence that this summit is coming at a time when Nigeria just signed into African Continental Free Trade Agreement, ACFTA.

“Therefore, I wish to say with boldness that we at APFFLON see the new agreement as providing the needed platform for freight forwarders and indeed the stakeholders to play in this continental arena.

“We are ready to take full advantage of the African Market as our operational zone. This can be deduced from the name of our association – Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON”.

The summit, which was the best of it kind, drew Resource Persons and participants from Maritime, Aviation and other sectors of the economy.

The programme ended with the prestigious award of Excellence bestowed on Mr Frank Ogunojemite, for exemplary leadership as the President of APFFLON and his enormous contributions to the growth of maritime industry in Nigeria.

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