The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has admonished the federal government to approve a compensation plan of 3% of Customs duties generated via the practitioners annually.
ANLCA President, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike made this plea while inaugurating the association’s Compliance Team in Lagos, today.
His words: “As a leader of the foremost body of customs brokers in the country with thousands of licences, we have always advocated that government should set aside at least 3 percent compensation to licensed agents based on revenue collected from transactions through their licenses.”
According to Nwabunike, this compensation will not only serve as motivation to compliant brokers, it will cause better increase in revenue and strengthen best practices.
Speaking on the significance of the compliance team, Nwabunike noted that non-compliance in the sector has increasingly manifested through under declaration, under valuation, false declaration, deliberate application of wrong Harmonized System (HS) Code to evade accurate duty payments and outright smuggling, which have resulted in seizures and arrests.
“Over 30% of revenue collected by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was achieved via interventions such as demand notices, which are, most times, fallouts of non-compliance,” he said.
He observed that Customs sub-groups such as; Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Strike Force, Customs Police and other agencies who chase down released containers to repeat what had been done in the ports, or police departments who sometimes waylay certified containers for arrest, thereby causing avoidable delays and increasing cost of doing business.
The President condemned these activities, stressing that they negate the principle of General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), which aims at promoting international trade by eliminating barriers.
Nwabunike posited that it is erroneous to assume that compliance is a thing for the private sector alone, arguing that government agencies and their operatives owe the country and the trading community the duty of compliance by obeying their own laws and sanctioning their operatives who act with impunity and disobedience.
“As a country, we have always shown efforts to improve on systems, infrastructure and severally spell out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in many areas but forgetting to work more on the human element,” he added.
Meanwhile, the newly inaugurated compliance team, led by Alhaji Lameen Aliyu, vowed to stamp out noncomformity and variant behavior, and ensure that agents and stakeholders behave as appropriately in order to create the best work environment.
The event also saw the appointment of Alhaji Femi Anifowoshe and Mazi Ibekwe Nnamdi to the positions of Zonal Coordinator and Secretary of the West Zone respectively, positions that had been otherwise vacant for about three years.