LCCI Decries Indiscriminate Valuation Queries On Imports   

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has decried what it termed as indiscriminate valuation queries of invoice of imported items by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

It said the action would hinder economic growth.

A communiqué issued in Lagos after the chamber’s council meeting and released to newsmen by Director-General of LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, said that indiscriminate valuation queries of invoice by Customs was a ploy to improve its revenue generation.

The chamber advised that a credible ground to dispute value of invoice on imports should be created.

It said: “Most of the prices are global prices and are easily verifiable online. In many of the instances, the actions of the NCS have no bearing with these global prices.

“Prices vary across different regions of the world. Regrettably there is no dependable dispute resolution framework in place to ensure speedy resolution of such disputes,” it said.

It said that an independent dispute resolution mechanism that could resolve valuation disputes within 48 hours should be evolved because of the cost implications of delays to importers.

The council urged the Presidency, Minister of Finance and Comptroller General of Customs to urgently investigate and resolve the issue.

It said that the current arrangement whereby appeals were made to the customs headquarters was not in consonance with the principle of natural justice, adding that Customs should not be a judge in its own case.

The council commended the latest Executive Order 5 issued by the Federal Government and aimed at encouraging local content and initiatives in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.

“We request the government to extend local content order beyond the scope of science, engineering and technology, improve “visa-on-arrival” processes and ensure better transparency in the issuance and compliance monitoring of the expatriate quota,” it said.

The council, however, noted that the quality of implementation of the Executive Order and previous directives would make the real difference in its outcomes and impact.

“The procurement policy for the MDAs, which prescribes that patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products, should be prioritised in government expenditure is yet to be effectively implemented.

“The Cabotage Law which was meant to create opportunities for indigenous players in the maritime sector is yet to have the desired impact,” the council said.

It also noted that the board of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies critical to the smooth functioning of the economy were yet to be constituted and undecided for some time.