Goods Under-declaration: Customs May Introduce Duty Benchmark

25 Feb 2012

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Comptroller-General of Customs, Inde  Dikko Abdullahi

By Francis Ugwoke

There is a growing apprehension among importers and their  freight forwarders  that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is planning to introduce  ‘Duty Benchmark’ on certain categories of imported goods.

Although, the details are yet to be made public, the idea is to discourage importers and their freight forwarders from   engaging in the crime of  goods under-declaration   or concealment which many importers  commit in a bid to evade payment of correct duties.

It was gathered that with  the duty benchmark,   importers will be compelled to pay  uniform duty on  certain categories of goods  despite the quantity  declared by each importer.

But in a swift reaction, the  National Association of Government Approved Freight  Forwarders (NAGAFF) has condemned the plan, and advised the Customs not to kill a fly with a sledge hammer.

In a statement signed by the Public Relations  Officer of NAGAFF, Mr Simeon Nwonu, NAGAFF said that this plan may be targeted at ensuring that the Customs realizes the N1trillion   revenue target  it had set.

“Much as we don’t begrudge the Customs management in efforts they deem fit to shore up their revenue base, especially in view of the One Trillion Naira (N1 trillion) revenue target given to them by the Federal Government, we are calling on the Nigeria Customs to tread cautiously as they embark on this task.

“NAGAFF is advising the Customs not to kill a fly with a sledge hammer but rather go systemically and in partnership with stakeholders in the industry, to ensure seamless realization of their target”, Nwonu said.

The association called on the management of Customs to embark   on massive enlightenment campaigns to educate the traders on the operations of the bench-marking of imports, “which we believe is aimed at encouraging traders and agents to make genuine declaration to Customs”.

The association called on members   to  keep away from import malpractices,  and instead join in the efforts by the  Customs Service   to enhance its revenue target by continuing to make genuine and honest declaration for Customs purposes.

NAGAFF  reminded members  of the  risk of loosing their  goods  if they engage in under-declaration or concealment.

Tags: Nigeria, Featured, Business, Inde Dikko Abdullahi

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