The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) and its management team for lack of professionalism.
Speaking to some journalists in Lagos yesterday, the Vice President of ANLCA, Mr. Kayode Farinto said a fresh management team should be appointed to give the service direction.
Farinto alleged that since Col. Ali (rtd) came on board, there have been arbitrary demand notice slammed on importers, adding that Customs agents now faces several bottlenecks in the clearance of goods which, he said is against ease of doing business.
He further alleged that there are so many intervention squad, including the Customs CG taskforce that intercepts consignments that have already been cleared in a commando style.
Farinto argued that the present management team needs to be rejuvenated, even as he lamented that the country is now faced with a situation where it seems the Customs management team is above the law.
According to him "They need to change the Customs management team now. You recall vividly that sine the CG of Customs has been appointed by the Commander in Chief, there are lot of issues on that.
"We are meant to believe that he was going to add value, I want to say that this current Customs management team is not adding value.
"We now lack professionalism and what we now have is arbitrary demand notice slammed on importers. We now have a situation where a consignment that has been released by the same Customs is being intercepted in a commando form. We have a situation where the maritime industry has been turn to barbaric industry, he said. .
"After a set of containers have been examined, we have a situation where the CG has a taskforce within the port, they stop consignment, the same CG taskforce is outside the ports, you can see them in Area B and Mile 2. We have compliance team of the same taskforce,
"We have Federal Operation Units. Federal operation units smartly in the last one week now increase their unit and called another one SWAT as if we are in America. The full meaning of SWAT, we do not know but you need to see the kind of hassles our members go through at night.”
Farinto also informed that against contrary opinion that the borders are closed, he alleged that smugglers still smuggle in contraband.
"Meanwhile, our borders continue to remain porous. If you want to appreciate what I'm saying, come to Egbeda at 5:30am, you will see how turkey have been moved to the country unchecked. Meanwhile, the legitimate ones who paid this duty are still being disturbed within the ports"
Farinto who also doubles as a member of the board of Council of Registered Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (CRFFN) lamented that in the 48 hours, clearing agents could not make declaration, stating that the Customs command is always giving excuse of upgrading its system
"This teams do what they like. In the last 24 hours, agents cannot make declaration. They tell us that they are upgrading their system. which they have failed to upgrade over the weekend leading to Demurrage charges
"The big question who pays the demurrage? The question is theoretical, because it is the importers that pay and they transfer it to final consumers. It is unprofessional and uncalled for. Annoyingly, nobody detects them. I was the only one who detect them. I put a call to Abuja, there was no circular to the trading community, there was no circular to that effect, yet you are issuing out the arrival assessment report on the same HSCode you have suspended.
Agents believe that leaders have been compromised. There is need to rejuvenate the current Customs management team.
"I want to suggest that from the rank of CG and DCGs, they should retire because they are tired. We look for young vibrant Assistance Comptroller General or Comptroller of Customs to become the CG of Customs.
"By the time you inject new blood, professionalism comes in, you have efficiency"