Mkpoikana Udoma 20 August 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, has attributed false declaration of goods at Nigerian ports to activities of fake customs agents in collaboration with unscrupulous government agencies.
National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said this in reaction to the alarm raised last week by the Comptroller General Of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), that the biggest challenge facing the Nigeria Customs Service was false declaration of goods by importers and clearing agents.
But, the President of ANLCA, speaking in Port Harcourt, explained that no licensed customs agent was involved during the classification and processing of cargo documents until a pre-arrival assessment report was issued.
Shittu reiterated the need to use professionals agents during cargo classification, saying it will remove the cumbersome problem of false declaration as, he said, no medical doctor can treat a patient without diagnosis and when the diagnosis is wrong the treatment too will be wrong.
He said: “Even in the traders zone, the activities of the agent are limited, no agent can process documents; processing goes through a system that does not involve the licensed customs agent.
“The trader or the importer travels and gathers his documents, does his declaration with his freight forwarder and comes in collusion with his banks and make his declaration to Customs which leads to the issuance of Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAR ).
“The CGC will agree with me that no agent is involved until the PAR has been issued, because it is on the basis of that PAR that the agent made that declaration, so there wouldn’t have been any reason for collusion. But I want to tell the CGC that there are fake customs agents ably aided by unscrupulous government agencies who have brought odium to the reputation of the professional customs agents.
“It will be necessary to look at this declaration process and get the agent involved from day one, because the person who prepares the classification of cargo is a banker without experience acting on behalf of the importer, making declaration to Customs but not the professional agent that would have done proper classification, which is one of the biggest problems we have.”