ANLCA, NAGAFF, others
seek legislative action for amendment of CEMA
The five Federated Associations of freight forwarders made up of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders, Nigerian Association of Air Freight Forwarders & Consolidators (NAFFAC);
National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), are seeking legislative actions for amendment of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
This formed part of the letter addressed to the the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Customs & Excise, National Assembly, and jointly signed by the five Federated Associations.
From the document sighted by our Correspondent, the freight forwarders presented a common position requesting immediate correction or expungement of specific tenses considered obnoxious to International Convention on trade and ease of doing business in Nigeria, as well as contravention of administration of Criminal Justice Act of 2005; global best practice in the proposed Customs and Excise Management Act, CAP C45, LFG, 2004 CEMA.
The document reads;
“Consequently, the five Federating Associations Registered by the Government of Nigeria arising from a joint session, with a communiqué and resolutions agreed to present a common position for legislative actions for amendment to the proposed CEMA Bill, by correcting specific sections that contravene International Conventions of which Nigeria is a signatory, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, LFN 2005 and Global best practice.
“When a National Legislation is to be enacted for the purpose of compliance of Trade protocols, it behooves on the enactors of the law to have broad consultations for relevant inputs. In this instance, the Freight Forwarders, who are in the front line, acting as principals are important.
Making reference to WCO Customs Brokers guidelines and with accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC), the document stated;
“It is still mandatory for the use of Licensed Brokers Services, once licensed for the process of all Import and Export clearance, acting as intermediary between Traders and Customs Administration in the clearance processes with sound knowledge of the laws on border regulatory requirements.
“With reference to WCO Customs Broker Guideline Section 27 issuance of License, when all Customs Brokers License requirements have been met, the designated Customs Administration Officer will issue a Customs Broker License and publicize its issuance. Section 34 says; “While performing several activities on behalf of Traders, Licensed Customs Brokers are applicable to make several obligations and liabilities depending on the National Legislation and Regulation of the country in which they are licensed.
“Once a Customs broker is licensed, he is uniquely positioned to contribute to Customs Administration objectives relating to efficiency and compliance, both as a party with whom Customs Administration directly engaged and as a communication Agent. It is quite necessary from the foregoing that Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) needs Licensed Brokers inputs in this proposed National Legislation Bill meant to enforce compliance whereas no consultation was made.”
The freight forwarders pointed out; “considering lack of request for inputs of the Registered Associations as an oversight by Customs the five federated Freight Forwarders Associations registered by Nigerian Government have moral obligations to submit to the Committee, to move the Senate to amend by addition, correction or expunging specific sections, tenses considered obnoxious to International Convention on Trade, ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“Aggrieved Traders should have the right to an Appellate Customs Tribunal (CEAT), which establishment is hereby requested within 14 days after preliminary notice.
“The Board shall consist of a Chairman, who will be appointed by the President subject to confirmation by the National Assembly. He shall be a retired Officer not below the rank of a Deputy Comptroller General for a period of four years and may be renewed once.”
The document mentioned that Representatives of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria shall be practicing Freight Forwarders.
On Customs control in cargo clearance, the document emphasised;
“Control by the Service includes taking returnable samples,
examining the accounts of the Traders, their records and data.
In carrying out examinations of goods or any means of transportation, an officer may use such reasonable and appropriate force to gain access to any locked cargo, storage compartment or any area where reasonable suspicion exists without any warrant.”
On duties and taxes, the document stated; “The Service shall be responsible for- applying for Valuation in accordance with the provision of relevant International Convention and agreement on implementation of Article VII of the general agreement on Tariffs and Trade as contained in the Act, to imported, exported and Excise goods.
“Any person who knowingly enters any product upon payment of less than the amount of duty, Excise taxes, or other taxes and fees legally due, shall be issued Debit Note of the difference with a penalty of (25%) of the duty liability.