The Association of Nigeria Customs Licensed Agents (ANLCA) operating at Nigerian ports have alleged that no fewer than 70,000 containers of overtime cargoes are currently lying fallow at the ports.
The Licensed Agents has demanded the removal of the Comptroller General (CG) of Customs, Col Hameed Ali from office.
The Vice President of the body, Kayode Farinto in a statement made available to The Tide on Wednesday said over 70,000 containers of overtime cargoes are lying fallow in the port.
Farinto also alleged that 60 percent of the cargoes at any port in Lagos are overtime cargoes.
He said the situation has been further compounded because the Customs boss appears too powerful than the Minister of Finance, a situation which they described as an aberration.
According to the statement, “”The CG brought the idea of online auctioning which failed and since then nothing is being said about it while vehicles worth billion of Naira are rotting away at the different Customs warehouses. A career officer will know what to do in such situation; he will not just fold his arms and allow this huge revenue loss.”
The ANLCA Vice President accused Col Alli of deliberately frustrating the ‘Time Release Study’ initiative of the World Customs Organization (WCO) a project which seeks to ensure that cargoes are released from Nigerian ports in a timely manner.
Farinto said that ANLCA has written petitions to the WCO, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international bodies on the recent activities of the customs boss which he alleged is not in line with international standards.
“We have noticed that we have a CG of Customs that is more powerful than the Federal Ministry of Finance, but it is supposed to be the other way round”
“Customs is supposed to report to finance minister, but we have a situation whereby it is customs looking as if they are too powerful. We have written series of letters to WCO on what Customs is doing, they should come and see”
“On Time Release Study, the intention of WCO is to see how long it takes for a cargo when it is dropped in the terminal to get to the consignees warehouse. After three months, Customs deliberately killed that idea, we have sent letters to WCO on this issue, we have sent letters to our ECOWAS partners to come and see what is happening in our customs whether it is inline with international standards”
“We are hereby clamoring for the next level of this government to give us a proper Customs officer. This would make us achieve a lot” he said.