NAGAFF Advocates Training of Customs Officers In Applying Exchange Rate

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called for training of customs officers, for them to know how to apply the new exchange rate so as not to cripple port operations.Deputy National President in charge of border stations of the association; Mr. Ugochukwu Nnadi in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week observed that many of the officers on ground are not well-trained in trade facilitation, even as he warned that this could be dangerous for port operations at this time.‎Nnadi was speaking against the backdrop of customs increasing import duty from N282 to N313 to one US Dollar.He argued that this is not the first time the exchange rate has been increase in the history of the ports, but that anytime it happens, what the customs does is to adjust their CIF value (Cost Insurance and Freight) so that the total product will not be higher than what the importer could bear.Nnadi said:‎ "The problem we are having now is training, in those days, customs men were trained, during the training they are made to know that their duty is not just revenue, they are also to facilitate trade, this is why, when issues like these happen, they always know what to do and they do it before day break so that the job will continue” "The activities of most customs men in the port today leave a lot to be desired, and by the time you come in contact with these customs officers, you will start wondering if they are actually trained to do what they are doing to sabotage the system""Most times, they say that they are trying to generate revenue but in the process of trying to generate the revenue, they destroy the economy" ,he said‎He alleged that the value customs is issuing to clearing agents on cargoes is not realisable. He said that many of the valuation officers go on internet to pick any price of goods randomly, which they could not defend.The NAGAFF chieftain corrected that it is not compulsory for customs to calculate duty with the N313 to a dollar. He described this move as an act of sabotage against the government in power‎."When customs was customs, once you open your Form M, any other change in policy will not affect that form M, the exchange rate at which you processed the form M will be the exchange rate at which you will take delivery. But now even when you have your PAAR, the policy of government supersedes it""We believe that this is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the government in power and lack of training on the part of officers to know what they ought to do""The exchange could be in the CBN, but customs should adjust it to accommodate trade""The last time we had this experience was in 2014 when they c0hanged the duty of vehicles from 10%‎ to 35%, between now and then, they have been changing certain things in the system" he said.