BY DANIEL ANOZIE
A disagreement between Customs and clearing agents over weighing procedures leads to uncleared goods lying waste at airport. A disagreement between the clearing agents and the Nigerian Customs Service on duties has left cargo worth millions of Naira lying uncleared at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
Officers of the Customs Service had accused the agents of trying to dodge ‘compliance’ in a bid to pay smaller amounts on expensive goods, a situation the Service said drains revenue generation efforts.
A Customs officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that rather than take the goods to the Customs Processing Centre (CPC) for proper declaration, the agents prefer to pay duties per kilo, and added that "such are the loopholes through which government revenue is leaking".
He went on to say that, "the Agents have abused the situation and we heard of a planned protest that was why it attracted the FOU. They discovered that the necessary amount is not being remitted into the Federation account. The Customs is saying that have to comply 100 percent. The FOU officers are here to prevent such, they will hold a meeting with the clearing agents on the need to must comply 100 percent."
The FOU, Federal Operator Unit of the Customs, is the office responsible for supervising the operations of the Nigerian Customs Service from Abuja. The unit is reportedly taking steps to address the situation.
A worker at the NAHCO Shed however said that both the agents and Customs officials allow leakage for their own gain, and that both parties were guilty in the face-off.
"Whenever the FOU is around, the agents and customs officers will not work because of the disagreement on duties and that is to cover up some deals on duty payment on both part," the worker alleged.