25 April 2015 – Stakeholders in the maritime industry have tasked Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, on implementation of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Common External Tariff, CET, 2015-2019 and 2015 Fiscal Policy Measures in the country.
While hailing the federal government for the initiative, those who spoke said the onus was on the NCS to strictly implement the provisions of the tariff.
Importers and licensed customs agents also commended the federal government on the provision of the tariff even as they charged men and officers of the NCS to live up to expectations.
Describing it as a big task for NCS, the President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Agents (NCMDCA), Mr. Lucky Amiwero said that policy was such that Customs should be ready to work hard to put structures in place for its strict implementation.
Amiwero argued that except NCS does a good job in its implementation, Nigeria would not benefit from the tariff.
According to Amiwero, who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Eyis Resources Limited, poor implementation will affect Nigeria as importers and freight forwarders will continue to divert goods meant for the country.
The NCMDCA president enjoined the management of NCS to ensure that experts in the systems were engaged to work out what is needed for a smooth implementation of the policy in the country.
He explained that the system was in line with what the World Trade Organisation (WTO) wants for all countries, even as he pointed out that it was important to learn from other countries on how it could be implemented smoothly in Nigeria.
Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala had last week approved the implementation of the new tariff through a press statement issued by Public Relations Officer, NCS Headquarters, Abuja, Alhaji Adewale Adeniyi.
Adeniyi, a Deputy Controller of Customs, said the implementation of the ECOWAS CET together with its Supplementary Protection Measures (SPM) and 2015 Fiscal Policy Measures occurs concurrently and will take effect from April 11, 2015 after the expiration of the 30 days notice required under the provisions of the ECOWAS CET.
According to him, with this development, all imports arriving into the country shall be subjected to the rates contained in the CET 2015- 2019 and 2015 Fiscal Measures without recourse to the rates applicable before the coming into effect of the ECOWAS CET 2015 – 2019. The approved Supplementary Protection Measures (SPM)/Fiscal Policy Measures comprise an Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) list which involves additional taxes on 177 Tariff Lines of the ECOWAS CET. It also includes a national list consisting of items whose import duty rates have been reviewed to encourage more development in strategic sectors of the economy and an Import Prohibition List (Trade), applicable only to certain goods originating from non-ECOWAS countries.
Adeniyi who issued the statement on behalf of the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, said all Customs formations have directed to begin an immediate enforcement of the tariff provisions. The NCS image maker enjoined all stakeholders to ensure compliance with the new ECOWAS tariff to enhance trade facilitation within and outside the West Africa Sub-region.
*John Iwori – Thisday