Story By Roland Ekama
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has threatened to sue the Nigeria Customs Service over alleged incessant suspensions (blockage) of customs licenses by the Post Clearance Audit (PCA) unit of the Service.
The ANLCA National Publicity Secretary, Dr Collins Farinto, in a statement made available to Business and Maritime West Africa, said that even though the Customs is desperate in its revenue drive, it is illegal for the service to unnecessarily block licenses of the agents.
"If the service is so desperate to meet her self imposed target, it should not be through an illegitimate means", he said.
Said he "We will definitely seek legal redress if these illegalities persist and it must be noted that Nigeria is not a banana republic where anybody or organisation could go ahead to block peoples licenses on filmsy excuses or for transaction or declarations above one year old"
Farinto also maintained that the ANLCA will no longer tolerate such practice by PCA adding that the association wishes to put the record straight by saying the customs action is illegal.
Citing relevant section of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), the ANLCA spokesman stated that "any person who act as an agent to an importer, exporter and proprietor of goods shall be personally liable for the payment of any duties payable in respect of those goods and for the performance of all acts under the Customs and Excise laws in relation to those goods as though he were the shipper of those goods as the case maybe"
Provided the agent shall cease to be liable under this section after one year from the date of any such duty became payable or any such act fell to be performed"
He noted that the position of the law is explicit and unambiguous ; saying that the association cannot comprehend why PCA could fragrantly block members licenses for transaction and declaration done in the last 24 months and even beyond.
He pointed out that the association will no longer tolerate arbitrary imposition of outrageous Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) on imported goods by PCA.
He alleged that the imposition of high value is to extort money from their members, thereby encouraging corruption in cargo clearing processes.