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Customs promises to mitigate impact of increase in duty exchange rate through trade facilitation 

The Eyewitness Reporter The Nigeria Customs Service has  again reiterated its commitment to trade facilitation when it promised to mitigate against the impact of the recent increase in duty exchange rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

It could be recalled that on December 7th, 2023, for the umpteen time and the second time in four weeks, CBN raised the Customs duty exchange rate to N951.941 per dollar.The rate was jerked up a month ago in November from N770.88 per dollar to N783.174 per dollar.

The latest duty exchange rate has since been reflected on the Customs portal.

Before the latest increase, the exchange rate for customs duty in June was N420 per dollar before it was jerked up to N775 per dollar in July.

Shortly after that, it jumped to N778 per dollar before the latest increase to N951.941 per dollar.

However, the customs has explained that it would ensure that there is a minimum delay in the customs process in order to ensure customs agents take delivery of their cargo without incurring demurrage.

Explaining the position of the customs on the increase yesterday, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Tin Can Customs Area controller, said there was little the customs could do over the fiscal and monetary policies which he said are within the purview of the federal government while the customs merely implements them.

Comptroller Nnadi, who was speaking yesterday, December 7th, 2023 at the 25th silver jubilee anniversary of the League of Maritime Editors in Lagos, pleaded for the patience and understanding of the trading public and admonished them to comply with the policy for the good of the society.He said that the customs learnt about the latest increase just like any other Nigerian.

Nnadi, however, promised that the customs, especially his command, Tin Can Island Port, would try to optimise its service delivery by facilitating trade to minimize the anticipated delays and resultant demurrage in order to mitigate the effects of the sudden increase.

“We are all affected, including the customs officers, by the increase.

“There is no separate supermarket where they sell customs bread”

” We as Nigeria Customs officers, just like other Nigerians, woke up this morning( Yesterday, December 7th) to find out that the exchange rate, which is the yardstick for the collection of customs duty, has been jerked up.

” Before June/ July, it was 420 per dollar, by July, it jumped to N775 to dollars, shortly after, it jumped to N778 to a dollar and this morning (yesterday, December 7th), it was increased to N951.941per dollar.

” We understand the implication of this on trade, bearing in mind letters of credit have been opened, contracts have been signed, supplies have been made, and people have negotiated business transactions based on the previous exchange rate.

” And we recognize the import of this exchange rate on trade.

” We recognize what the Nigeria business community is going through but there is little we can do as customs service about the fiscal and monetary policies.

” Our role is to implement them, we do not make these policies and we align ourselves with government decisions.

” Every decision taken by government is for the collective interest of the nation and we expect that we must all abide by it.

” As Customs, what we can do to mitigate the impact of what the trading public is going to go through in the next few days because of the increase in the exchange rate is to optimise our service delivery where there are expected delays in customs process to make up for this sudden increase.

“We will try to facilitate trade so that whatever little money you would have paid on demurrage, you can now use it to make up for this sudden increase and that is what I can manage.

“We do this because if the agents go back to their importers and ask them to raise additional funds to augment the one they have paid because of the sudden increase, the importers may find it difficult to raise the money and there will be delay and the attendant demurrage.

” So what we can do as customs service, is to minimize these expected delays through facilitation of trade.

” The Nigeria Customs Service cannot manage the other aspect of price increase because that is the function of federal government directive” Comptroller Nnadi explained in a very comprehensive manner to exonerate the customs service from these sudden increases in the exchange rates.

He however believed that most of the trade activities in Nigeria are being heavily subsidized by the government which makes citizens of the neighbouring countries cross the borders to Nigeria to buy goods in Nigeria.

” But I am by no means justifying the incessant and sudden increments in tariff.

” But Nigerians must be patriotic enough to obey government policies when they are issued because every government policy is issued in the best interest of the people” the Customs chief sermonises.

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Customs

Customs gives importers of improperly imported vehicles soft landing

Wale Adeniyi, CGC
— announces 90-day window to pay import duties with 25 percent penalty
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has bent backward to give a soft landing to importers of vehicles whose vehicles were detained by the customs over improper documentation and undervaluation.
Acting on the Ministry of Finance’s instructions, the Customs has given a 90- day window for the vehicles under that category to pay the required customs duty in addition to a 25 percent penalty and take delivery of their consignments.
According to the statement by the service, those whose vehicles were seized and condemned will not enjoy this grace as they have forfeited their consignments to the Federal Government.
“All vehicle owners, Importers/Agents seeking to regularize import duties on their vehicles are required to apply to the Zonal Coordinators (Zones A, B, C, D) and CAC FCT Command.
“They must submit the necessary available documents and process Vreg in line with the Federal Ministry of Finance directives for the registration of imported motor vehicles.
“Valuation and assessment of the vehicles will be carried out using the VIN valuation method.
” Import Duty and a 25% penalty shall be paid in tandem with the import guidelines, procedures, and documentation requirements for used vehicles under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria (2013) and the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
” Also, duty payments must be made using the Procedure Code specifically created for this exercise.
“This initiative reflects our unwavering commitment to facilitating compliance. We encourage all stakeholders to capitalize on this opportunity within the stipulated timeframe” the statement added.
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Customs

The giant stride of Comptroller Kolade as anti-smuggling czar 

The Eyewitness Reporter 

One year after Comptroller Kayode Kolade assumed office on the 25th January 2023 at the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the Nigeria Customs Service, it has not been business as usual for economic saboteurs who ply the Eastern region to perpetuate their enterprise.

The FOU Zone C in Port Harcourt is the South East and South South Region including Bayelsa, Port Harcourt 1 and 2, Edo, Delta, Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

Compt Kolade was enlisted into the Superintendent Cadre of the Nigeria Customs Service in 1989, making tremendous progress by rising recently to the rank of Comptroller of Customs in 2024.

He has worked in various Customs Formations in different capacities.

 To mention but just a few, he was DC in charge of the SIFAX bonded terminal in Apapa Port, he was D/C B1 Tincan Island Port, a position he occupied before he got appointed as the Acting Comptroller, Federal Operations Unit Zone C Owerri-based on his track records in revenue and anti-smuggling exploits.

He was also the Coordinator of, the Joint Border Patrol Team, Code-named: Border Drill Sector 1 Port Harcourt in 2018. Earlier in his career path, he has worked at Seme Border, KLT, FOU A and Headquarters respectively

Kayode Kolade was appointed to pilot the affairs of the Federal Operations Unit Zone ‘C’ Owerri since January 2023 where his giant record speaks volumes.

Under the cerebral anti-smuggling czar, the Federal Operations Unit FOU, Zone “C” seized goods worth over N 5 billion in the total Duty Paid Value (DPV) category in the 2023 fiscal year.

Some of the items seized were pangolin scales, foreign parboiled rice, cannabis sativa (AKA Indian hemp), fake pharmaceutical products, tramadol, used vehicles, used tyres, used clothing and explosive raw materials among others.

As a result of the interventions of officers of the zone under Comptroller Kolade’s watch in checkmating the activities of fraudulent agents at the seaports, lots of revenues, hitherto lost, amounting to over N152 million were recovered.

Within the first three months of his resumption at Zone C, Comptroller Kolade dealt the first blow on smugglers with the interception of contraband goods valued at N2.8 billion between January 25 and March 25.

The unit under his watch also arrested 13 suspected smugglers during the period.The value of the goods intercepted was N2.7 billion, while the balance of N61.4 million was for demand notices the command raised based on some infractions.

The seized items include five sacks of pangolin scales, 398 sacks of Indian hemp, weighing 8,756kg and another 2,308 compressed parcels of Indian hemp of 1kg each.

The five sacks of pangolin scales weighing 413.1kg and the 11,064kg of Indian hemp are the highest if not arguably the first seizure of such endangered species and hard drugs in the history of the zone.

Other seizures were 2,600 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup packed in 26 cartons, three exotic bulletproof vehicles, 931 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing and 484 bags of smuggled rice.

Also intercepted were 31 cartons of various medicaments including tramadol; 32 jerry cans of petrol and 540 pieces of used tyres.

Between July 25 and September 23, 2023, the FOU Zone C dealt another major blow on smugglers with the interception of cannabis sativa, raw materials for the production of explosive devices, as well as other contraband with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N1.6 billion.The Zone also arrested nine suspects in connection with the seizures.

Eagle-eyed officers of the command also intercepted nine sacks of 50kg each of explosive materials namely fertilizer, device cables and superpower chemicals.

The Superpower 90 which was intercepted by the unit is designed for priming applications and as a column explosive in surface and underground mining and general blasting

Other items seized include 1,329 bags of 50kg smuggled foreign rice; 417 sacks of cannabis sativa weighing 9,194kg and 627 compressed parcels of the same substance totaling 627kg.

Also impounded are one unit of an armored bullion van, 761 jumbo bales of second-hand clothing, and 883 cartons of various.

 unregistered/expired medicaments, 192 packets of 225mg of tramadol, 100 cartons of wine, 5,737 pieces of used pneumatic tyres and 335 cartons of smuggled foreign tomato paste.

Meanwhile, freight forwarders operating in the maritime sector have commended the sagacity of Comptroller Kayode Kolade as a disciplined officer and a fine gentleman.

He has attended many courses as Nigeria Customs representative both locally and internationally, worthy of mention includes: INDIA trip courses on enforcement of Government Fiscal policy and Revenue, among others.

He is a recipient of many Awards in recognition of his outstanding achievements.

The most cherished is the commendation letter for outstanding performance in anti-smuggling operations from the former Comptroller General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) in 2017 while he was the coordinator of CGC Strike Force Team Zone ‘C’ covering the South-South/South-East States.

He also received a lot of Merit Awards as Best Enforcement Officer at the various Customs formations where he worked from the media, too numerous to mention.

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Customs

Customs suspends officer, hands over to Police over alleged collection of N.5 million bribe from car buyer

The Eyewitness Reporter

The  Federal Operations Unit, Zone ‘B’ of the Nigeria Customs Service based in Kaduna has apprehended an officer over his alleged involvement in a N500,000 bribery scandal.
The undisclosed officer, who is a member of the roving team of the FOU, Zone B, Kaduna, along Mokwa- Jebba road, Niger State, was said to have demanded and collected a gratification of the sum of N500,000 from one Mohammed Dahiru, a car buyer, for a favour.
Disclosing this to journalists while handing over the suspect to the Assistant Provost Marshal (APM) Customs Police Unit, Kaduna,
Comptroller of the units, Dalha Wada Chedi, said a full-scale investigation has been instituted to determine the extent of the culpability of the suspended officer.
Comptroller Chedi, while addressing newsmen in the premises of the Unit, confirmed that the suspected Officer involved in this unwholesome act is indeed an operative of the Unit deployed to Mokwa Patrol Team in Niger State, lamenting that the unfortunate incident occurred in the early hour of Thursday 22nd February 2024 as reported by the complainant.

“Upon hearing the alleged unfortunate incident, I directed the Customs Police Unit in the Zone that is responsible for enforcing discipline in the Service to apprehend the Officer and move him to the Unit’s Headquarters here in Kaduna for further interrogation.
“Also, the Complainant was invited to assist in the investigation as well”, disclosed the Comptroller.

He added that “The Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his Management team frowned at such unruly behavior as such, the disciplinary committee will be diligent and firm.

” In fact, the Service is very pragmatic and practical in disciplinary cases and this one will not be an exception”.

Comptroller Chedi thereafter handed over the suspected Officer to the APM Customs Police Unit for further investigation.

 In his words, “The Officer is hereby handed over to the APM Customs Police Unit for discreet investigation and the findings of the investigation will be transmitted to NCS-HQ for further action by the Nigeria Customs Service Board as it is the only body that handles the appointment, promotions and discipline of all Senior Officers of the Service”.

“This unprofessional and ungodly act will not be condoned. A thorough investigation has just commenced,” concluded the irate Comptroller.

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