03 October 2014, Lagos – The National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the Association of Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and its Board of Trustees (BoT) have joined forces to address some of the challenges facing members of the association.
Following the resolve of the two organs of the association, members of NECOM and BoT have held a meeting to strategise on the way forward on the myriad of problems hindering ANLCA members from carrying out their statutory roles and responsibilities in the nation’s seaports, airports and international borders.
The meeting which was at the instance of BoT which has Chief Henry Njoku as its chairman took place at its newly unveiled national secretariat, Lagos.
Some of the key issues which was tabled before the two main organs of the include operational challenges in the ports and the continuing intimidation of licensed Customs agents by Custom officers; annual financial returns and accounts to be resuscitated and completed for auditor’s report’s conclusion.
Others are welfare of member/licensed agents; welfare packages for workers/appointees at the national secretariat; resuscitation, funding and subsequent independence of the Customs agent magazine; sources of steady income, to sustain administration/activities of the national secretariat.
The two organs of the association also took a critical look at the 35 per cent automotive policy of the federal government as its members; the constitutionally provided 10 per cent of income into ANLCA coffers; harmonisation of the two versions of ANLCA supreme constitution; and the forthcoming Eastern Zone chapters’ elections.
National President of ANLCA, Olayiwola Shittu in his remarks at the meeting said new structure designed to handle the multitude of problems in the ports is evolving.
According to him, this will involve the issuance of passwords tied to approved, operating licensed Customs agencies and the commencement of sustained training of agents, alongside customs officers, which is scheduled to commence next month.
He advised members of the association to learn how to distance themselves from rumours, by coming to the national secretariat or visiting the chapters for authentic information on the running of the association.
.He disclosed that the 35 per cent levy is on new cars and not used ones until January 2015, even as he pointed out that the mileage determines the usage or non-usage level.
“500 miles is considered used, while 10 miles is brand new. Big time cars importers should embark on the construction/operation of vehicle assembly plants, to boost Nigeria’s economy”, he added.
Shittu appealed to those who pledged various sums of money towards the insurance package, to redeem such pledges, as very soon, the premium will be due for payment.
To tackle the lingering problem with the inefficient clearance of goods at the ports, he enjoined the BOT, as advisers of the association, to seek audience with the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi to discuss operational challenges, as it affects licensed customs agents, instead of in conjunction with NECOM.
In his remarks, the National Vice President, Mr. Kingsley Emenike Nwokeoji advised members to tread softly on their criticism of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), as the document cannot be a final document for clearing purposes.
According to him, this is due to the fact that PAAR is prepared and issued based on documents by the importer. The integrity of the documents can only be sustained, if on examination, contents of the cargo tallies completely, with the documents initially presented.
He enjoined importers and licensed customs agents to be honest in their declarations/imports and raise their integrity level in trade compliance.
He maintained that other noticeable challenges involving PAAR and trade facilitation will continuously be addressed with the customs high command until PAAR becomes a onetime cargo clearance document, as Nigeria inches towards e-transaction in cargo clearance.
– This Day