…Accuses media of fuelling tension, enmity in the industry
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under the leadership of Dikko Inde Abdullahi may be saving the country a wasteful payment of $25 million monthly, a seasoned Customs broker has observed.
The Deputy National President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Prince Obums Anene who made the statement,pointint out that government paid services provider 2.4 billion dollars in eight years, also vilified maritime journalists, for what he described as “speculative writings”, especially of those bordering on the tenure of Dikko, as Customs Comptroller General (CGC).
Accusing the media of fuelling tension, enmity and avoidable distraction on issues that would not grow the industry, the NAGAFF Chieftain said he was disgusted that a cross section of misinformed maritime reporters had failed to realize that Customs and its current management took away the jobs of Destination Inspection (DI) Service providers, a group which Government wastefully paid $2.4 billion under eight years, through a very costly fight.
“It is sad to note that most Nigerians and our Resident Reporters may not have realized that this young man, Dikko, and his administration struggled with their last breath to dislodge the service providers from undertaking Destination Inspection in Nigeria. Well over 2.4 Billion Dollars may have been paid to the Service Providers in the past 8 years and yet young Nigerian graduates are roaming the streets in search of gainful employment.
“The point herein canvassed is to state clearly from our vantage point that the Dikko administration has done so well in the area of revenue collection, anti-smuggling function, trade facilitation, post audit function, international collaboration, capacity building and training, infrastructural development and ICT compliance”, Obums stated further, asking those wishing to see the Dikko, or his counterparts at NIMASA, Ziakede Akpobolokemi or the NPA Managing Director, Habib Abdullahi removed to engage their energies in more productive ventures.
“It is very sad that most of the Resident Reporters in our seaports, airports and border stations spend their precious time writing about the removal or continued stay in office of some Government officials e.g. the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) instead of engaging themselves in issues that will help the advancement of our international trade and ports administration.
“The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) as a critical stakeholder in the maritime trade and transportation is really surprised over the on-going distractions to the officers of the Government by the Resident Reporters because they tend to create undue tension, suspicion and enmity within the ranks of the Service personnel”, he noted further.
“It is on record that the tenureship of civil servants is either 35 years in Service or 60 years of age whichever comes first.
“In the particular case of the CGC, the truth remains that he (Dikko) is yet to reach 35 years in Service or 60 years of age and he has not been found guilty of any offence against Civil Service rules or Customs law.
“The point herein canvassed is to state clearly from our vantage point that the Dikko administration has done so well in the area of revenue collection, anti-smuggling function, trade facilitation, post audit function, international collaboration, capacity building and training, infrastructural development and ICT compliance”, he also said.
The NAGAFF as a body however, tasked the Customs Boss to work towards bridging the gap between the letters of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and that of the Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN).
“However, what we think should attract the attention of the CGC at the moment is the divide between CEMA and CRFFN. There is the urgent need to harmonize the relevance and operations of these two legislative instruments to achieve professionalism and compliance level on the part of freight agents and shippers in the Customs ports and approved border stations.
“We also will want the management team of the NCS to increase their efforts in lobbying the National Assembly and the Presidency with a view to ushering in a new Customs law that seeks to grant partial autonomy in Customs administration”, the group concluded, in a statement it sent to Maritime First on Wednesday.