The introduction of the International Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) for all imports in the country about nine months ago is expected to fetch the sum of N17bn annually for the federal government.
Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, who disclosed this weekend said the ICTN was a good development for the nation’s import trade.
Bello said that apart from the revenue that will be realised from the ICTN, it will check all forms of fraudulent practices in which government loses so much revenue.
According to him, “We estimated that on trial, the federal government will realise N17bn every year, but that is going to be with strong compliance”
He said ICTN will check such fraudulent practices as under-declaration and concealment by importers.
He also said that ICTN will equally check shipping companies and owners of vessels who under-declare their gross registered tonnage of their vessels.
Bello said that the purpose of under-declaration by both importers and shipowners was simply to pay less duty to the government.
He disclosed that one of the reasons why some people wanted to stop the introduction of ICTN was because of the fraudulent practices it will expose.
He added, “the importance of the project is that it will boost the revenue of the Nigeria Customs because the end of under declaration has come and concealment will not be done any more. So the ICTN is veritable project. It will also help in accelerating cargo clearance.”
He however said that the initial opposition against ICTN by manufacturers and other importers has since died down after they were convinced that it was good for the country and also reealised that it will not attract extra duty to them.
He said, “The ICTN like any other new thing was greeted with stiff opposition especially from MAN. We said we cannot introduce this unless MAN becomes satisfied because MAN is a very important stakeholder in the economy. As a matter of fact, MAN set up a committee and together with Shipping Association of Nigeria, we were invited to appear and at the end of it all, MAN was convinced that the CTN is a viable project”.
Bello said that the current effort of the Council is to fine-tune ICTN for improved result.
He said, “what we are trying to do now is to interrogate the system. We don’t want to put a system that will not be acceptable, that is not robust. We want the whole thing to be perfect. We are working silently to make sure that is done”.
ICTN was first introduced in 2009 by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, but was suspended following protests on the charges imposed on importers.
The federal government later directed that the NSC as the ports economic regulator should implement the scheme.