There is palpable anxiety among clearing agents operating at the Tin Can Island Port over the new ‘one-stop-shop’ recently commissioned by the Tin Can Island command of Nigeria Customs Service purposely to block revenue leakages and solve complaints.
This is even as the customs command announced its collection of N31,848,233,590 in August, 2018.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily at the port, some licensed customs agents who craved anonymity expressed fears that the new innovation may no longer allow them cut corners and cheat the government.
Public Relations Officer of Customs at Tin Can command; Mr Uche Ejesieme told Shipping Position Daily exclusively yesterday that the Customs Area Controller, Mr. Musa Baba Abdullahi on Tuesday held a meeting with executives of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and others where he reportedly issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the operation of the new facility.
He said the facility would address the incessant complaints of multiplicity of alerts, which hitherto was a recurring decimal in clearing procedure.
He enjoined all stakeholders to take advantage of the facility, especially for the facilitation of Legitimate Trade.
He also added that the centre will house Query and Amendment (Q & A), Valuation and CIU for the synchronization and harmonization of trade disputes.
The controller reportedly warned that henceforth, the service will not handle any matter of non-compliance with levity.
But, speaking with Shipping Position Daily, one of the clearing agents however lamented that "Customs is trying to centralize all complaints and treatment in one place, for instance if the problem is CIU alert, the CIU will look at it and if it is a problem of value, they pass it over to valuation, all sectional heads of the customs have been represented in the one stop shop"
"The issue now is that this arrangement will not help us because we will spend more money to clear cargoes, agents are the cause of it all, they are always crying of alerts on their cargo, now they have asked everyone to bring their complaints to one place"
Another licensed customs agent told our correspondent that "Now you have no choice than to be compliant, this is what the man (customs area controller) wants"
"I believe if all departments are brought together, we will be spending more money, we all know that corruption cannot be eliminated in this industry" .
In the area of revenue collection, the Customs Area Controller declared that the Command collected a total of N31,848,233,590.39 in August, 2018.
This is against the N28,603,925,232.47 collected during the corresponding period of 2017, representing a difference of N3,244,308,357.92