As part of preparations for renewal of clearing agents’ licenses for 2017, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has commenced verification of licenses of such practitioners.Ahead of the exercise, freight forwarding associations have been directed to notify their members.A copy of the letter which was sighted by our correspondent in the office of one of the leading freight forwarding associations, indicated that the inspection of offices and verification of licenses actually started on May 22, and it will last till June 8, 2017.
A circular signed by the head of inspection and investigation unit of customs, Assistant Comptroller Yusuf. S.A dated 16th of May informed the stakeholders of the verification and inspection of customs license agents premises and relevant documents for 2017 renewal of licenses.
Yussuf warned that there shall be sanctions which include blocking of agencies licenses not inspected during the exercise.
The letter reads in part: "I am directed to inform you that a team of customs inspectors is scheduled to inspect your company with a specific task of conducting retrospective inspection and verification of the company records in relation to your customs license"
"You are to accord the inspectors all neccessary corporation for the successful conduct of the exercise. It is imperative that only agencies duly inspected and issued with certificate of inspection are qualified to operate in any ports or border stations"
"There shall be sanctions and blocking of agencies licenses not inspected during the exercise" it states.
But, speaking with Shipping Position Daily at the Tin Can Island Port yesterday, Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Segun Oduntan said that in order to make the process easier for his members, the ANLCA headquarters had negotiated for the customs team to be located at the Tin Can Chapter Secretariat for easy accessibility.
"Everybody comes here to do their verification, it is good for the officers and the agents, we are doing it in consonance with our chapter register" Oduntan said.
Also speaking with our correspondent, Secretary of the chapter, Mr. Nzeribe Ebere said that the requirements for the verification exercise includes; valid 2017 license and tax clearance. In absence of the 2017 license, he said agents could come with their 2016 license, but with evidence that the one for 2017 is already being processed.