The National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLC, Prince Olayiwola Shittu is seeking new inputs from customs brokers in the ongoing reform of the Customs and Excise Management Act 2016.
Shittu however cautioned against licensing of individuals instead of corporate bodies for the purpose of clearing goods at the ports.
The ANLCA President who has been visiting chapters of the association wants the Customs committee reviewing the draft CEMA 2016, to deepen the relationship between the licensed Custom brokers and Nigeria Custom Service, as the case worldwide.
Shittu was quoted to have made a complementary presentation of the Policy and Strategy Consultation Group (PSCG) of the World Customs Organization (WCO), which highlighted the associations and world blue chip companies that are listed members of the PSCG, to drive home the point that customs brokers were specially recognized as professionals interfacing with Customs, away from the practice of freight forwarding.
He argued that the nomenclature only changed in Nigeria but has remained in other climes.
He pointed out section 19 (1&2) of the CRFFN Act of 2007, which he described as purely administrative, requiring the presentation of a certificate of registration with requisite document to Nigeria Custom service, before the issuance of a customs license.
He recalled that way back in 2012, all practicing Customs Agents were registered with CRFFN either as individuals or corporate entities, emphasising that the hue and cry/propaganda to license individuals would be detrimental to revenue generation and collection, considering the fact that individuals were likely to disappear when infractions are detected, whereas corporate organisations would remain accessible for punishment and recovery of leaked revenue.
In his contribution, Alhaji Mohammed Sanusi Wakili was of the view that the number of days for UCL should be increased from 14 days to 60 days.
He also drew the attention of the CEMA draft review committee of the typographical errors, and said the new CEMA should effect the corrections.
Other contributors like NIPOST, EPZ, NEPC, NIPC, CRFFN, etc requested for synergy with the Customs, and a place in the Board of Nigeria Customs Service, while pointing out one or two sections that are inconsistent with their own Act.
The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding, CRFFN, specifically demanded for the incorporation of section 19 (1&2) in the draft CEMA and requested for the use of Brokers, in place of Representative, in the draft.
The NIPC representative- Abayomi Salami spoke about the onerous penalties imposed on infractions, pleading for a reduction of the penalties, and the use of percentage of cost of goods to penalize defaulting importers.
The CGC- Col. Hameed Ali was said to have responded that the penalties were not meant to encourage infractions, but deter commissions of such infractions.
The next stakeholders engagement shifts to Port Harcourt on Thursday, September 1.