According to the Guardian, importers and customs clearance agencies continue to be unhappy with the rules affecting clearance at Nigerian ports, noting that these "bottlenecks" are causing huge financial losses. In particular, they allege that they cleared their goods through 26 customs units.
This has caused many problems in the liquidation procedure, which has affected the ease of doing business in the country. In addition, port barriers have contributed to inflation.
Agents are demanding changes to port operations to reduce the number of customs units involved in cargo clearance, claiming they have overlapping responsibilities that affect turnaround times - a violation of the Kyoto convention.
A customs officer, who asked not to be named, said the inspection units had made the clearance process more difficult as importers spent more money on clearance. "To clear a container in Lagos and other ports in Nigeria, you have to be prepared because you have to go through 26 customs units to get the money," the customs officer added.
In an interview with the Guardian, Lucky Amiwero, chairman of the National Council of Chartered Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), accused Nigerian Customs of exploiting people through multiple customs units. The group called it one of the biggest acts of corruption in the country.
Amiwero said the different units set up by customs across the country violated the Kyoto Convention, which aims to facilitate trade by harmonizing and simplifying customs procedures and practices. Amiwero noted that this has affected the economy and many companies have gone out of business, and he called for an urgent reform of the service.
In addition, Eugene Nweke, former president of the National Association of Certified Government Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), also lamented the level of delays in the clearance process in Nigeria, which he said was partly to blame for the high commodity prices. But the state public relations official, Deputy Comptroller General Joseph Attah, denied the allegations. He said proper customs clearance procedures must be followed, especially in cases where importers have made false declarations. Different units have different responsibilities to ensure proper inspection and prevent the smuggling of harmful goods into the country.
Attah said FOU is a statutory unit of Nigeria Customs while OC gate is the officer in charge of gate. Proper liquidation procedures must be followed. Only those who don't follow the rules complain. "Why do people complain about the process?" says Attah. If importers do honest documentation, correct declarations and paper payments, they will have no problem with our units or offices."
"There are currently 50 (50) days of waiting times for ships at the port of Lagos in Nigeria, with around 1,000 container trucks of exports reportedly stuck on the side of the road at the port," Vadi, senior shipping analyst and consultant at Dynamar, said in September.
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