The Nigerian Association of Air Freight Forwarders and Consolidators has faulted the recent unbundling and creation of new area commands by the Nigeria Customs Service.
The President of the association; Mr Adeyinka Bakare, argued that the development instead of facilitating trade would lead to unnecessary pressure on the part of the new commands in terms of meeting their revenue target as most of the new commands did not have enough cargo traffic.
It will be recalled that the management of the NCS had recently announced the unbundling and creation of eight new area commands within the service with a view to enhancing administrative efficiency and boosting revenue generation.
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport command was spilt into two commands
Also last Wednesday, the Customs Area Controller of Ogun Command, Michael Agbara, said new area commands would be created from the Ogun NCS to enhance administration.
But, the NAFACC president reasoned that the action might have been informed by the growing number of the officers in the comptroller cadre who were not really engaged as well as to take care of new ones who would soon join the cadre.
He said, “To some extent, there is no need. But I think the service in its wisdom, looking at the number of officers in the comptroller cadre not really engaged and the new ones that are coming up, discovered that there is a need for it to create such offices and in most cases, these offices that the service created were in existence before with majority of them being headed by assistant comptrollers.
“It is not that they are new commands; I think it is a bit of upgrading to a full-fledged command and I think that the only thing that is going to add to it is that it will now give room for unnecessary pursuant of target that will really slow down trade instead of encouraging trade.”
He maintained that the exercise would put pressure on the commands.
He said, “Even before this unbundling or upgrading of these commands, we have some commands that were having problems. Let me give you an example with Ondo/Ekiti axis, if you take your car on a journey and you get to Ondo/Ekiti, the command in Ondo/Ekiti stops the car and gives you additional duty and gives you debit note to go and pay. You already did that when the car came out through the seaport.”