By Francis Ugwoke
Seizures of several Billions of Naira worth of goods from importers on regular basis can be avoided if the international traders can be honest and follow necessary customs procedures, the Comptroller General’s Strike force in Zone A has advised.
The Coordinator of the Strike Force, Deputy Compt Mohammed Sani Yusuf, said the biggest problem importers have was lack of compliance to regulations, adding that this was responsible for billions of Naira worth of goods seized on daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Yusuf who spoke to the Executives of the League of Maritime Editors (LOME) during a courtesy call said a lot of infractions have been found against the importers during examinations as against their declarations.
He advised that customs agents need to be educated on customs procedures which they must follow to avoid seizures.
According to him, importers and their customs agents who are compliant with the necessary procedures will have no issues with operatives of the customs.
He said it was important for customs agents to study Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and follow it.
He said, “As clearing of goods is going professional, clearing agents and importers must be educated on customs procedures, be abreast of classifications and be compliant. In this way, they will reduce the incidence of short payments and goods smuggling”.
The Coordinator disclosed that the Unit generated about N2 billion through issuance of Demand Notices (DN) in the past seven months.
He said that the Strike Force has mapped out strategies to ensure successes in its operations.
According to him, among the target of the Unit is to ensure that prohibited items are not allowed into the country and that government does not lose any revenue due to trade infractions.
Yusuf said the Unit shares intelligence with Commands, units and other relevant agencies in confronting smugglers, adding that this was for the general success of the Service and the country.
In his speech during the visit, the President of League, Chief Timothy Okorocha, commended the Strike Force team for the professionalism shown in carrying out their assignment.
Okorocha said the Strike Force has done well in terms of revenue recorded through DN, adding that this would have been lost.