By Chinonye Anyatonwu
A freight forwarder and Vice – Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Seme border, Alhaji, Abdulganiyu Lawani has reminded his fellow Practitioners of the consequences of engaging in cutting corners in the course of transacting their businesses at the customs ports with a view to reducing duty payable on their consignments.
Speaking at a business forum organised by Congress of Nigerian Maritime Media Practitioners, CONMMEP, in Apapa Lagos at the weekend, Lawani who is the Chairman of De-Millions Group of Companies Limited encouraged fellow freight forwarders on the needs of being compliant to the extant rules of Customs regarding importing and exporting of goods through the nation’s ports.
He noted that since both customs and freight forwarders are contributing to the growth of Nigeria’s economy there must be Synergy among the two to achieve the desired expectations.
According to the reknowed industrialist, human capacity development guru and philanthropist, cutting corners and engaging in other sharp practices such as under declarations and concealment have often brought freight forwarders in collision with the law enforcement agencies, especially men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He disclosed that cargo throughput had drastically reduced at the ports leading to low collection of customs duty and the Nigeria Customs Service was not leaving any stone unturned with a view to blocking all loop-holes that may lead to revenue leakage.
While stating that it was the responsibility of the association to protect members who engaged in legitimate businesses in the customs ports and land border stations, Lawani warned that the association may not be able to fight for and protect any agent who was not compliant to extant rules and regulations governing cargo clearance out of customs ports.
He said; “It is obvious the current Management of Nigeria Customs is stricter in dealing with deliberate abuse of due process in customs operations. I wish to advise that freight forwarders who want to conduct his or her business without inhibition must now imbibe the principles of best practices. In other words, the need for genuine declarations for Customs purposes cannot be over- emphasised”.
“I must emphasise that it is unprofessional for any freight agent in the name of securing jobs to allow an importer to use his or her personal company as the consignee. This has inherent danger therein and it is not advisable”, he said.
Lawani who is also the Director- General of Adams Oshiomohle Senatorial Campaign Organisation reminded all practitioners that falsification of documents for customs purposes is an offense as forgery carries 7 years imprisonment.
He called on ANLCA members and all freight forwarders to join hands with NCS in building capacity, integrity and professionalism in customs operations”, he said.
He also charged Maritime stakeholders to support the efforts of the Federal government as it continues to bring about policies that engenders smooth operation of businesses at the ports.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the president of CONMMEP, Alh. Tunde Umar – Daniah described the guest as a patriot with undiluted love for the economic prosperity of the nation and rule of law.
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