Customs Comptroller-General, Ibde Dikko Abdullahi
A new body, the Nigerian Importers Advocacy and Support Group (NIASG), has called for the fusion of the Lilypond Customs Command into the Apapa Area One Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Executives of the nascent body who made the call in Lagos said it was to ensure seamless transactions at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
"If you look at Lilypond now, you see that containers are not going there again because people now prefer to receive their containers from the main terminal but the main problem for us importers is that when you make any payment at Apapa Port and your container is transferred to Lilypond, it becomes almost impossible to clear your consignment from Lilypond because until that payment is received at Lilypond, you will not be able to clear your container. We believe that if Lilypond is under Apapa Command then this kind of problem will not arise”, the Executive Secretary of NIASG, Mr. Adebayo Famoroti, said.
He said the various bonded terminals under Tin Can Island Port do not have separate Customs Command but are all under the Tin Can Customs Command, a situation which has made it possible for seamless transactions at the bonded terminals and has helped them in attracting patronage.
“Bonded terminals are an extension of the main port facilities and the Customs at the main ports should supervise their operations”, Famoroti said, and added that the low level of activities at Lilypond was attributable to the lack of a unified Customs Command at Apapa Port.
He said that NIASG was formed to champion the cause of importers who are often ignored in the decision making process despite being the owners of the cargoes.
Famoroti also condemned target setting for Customs Commands in the country saying that the policy leads to desperation among Customs Commands to meet revenue target by all means.
His words: “There should be a global revenue target for Customs at the national level and that is what all Customs Officers across the country should work towards. This is because by the time you now push the commands to realise some impossible target then you're creating a lot of problem and promoting unhealthy competition among them. Nigeria Customs is one and should remain so”.