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Friday, 1 December 2017

‘Nearly all importers evade duty’–Nigeria Customs Service

‘Nearly all importers evade duty’–Nigeria Customs Service

Hameed Ali

The Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) yesterday said that 99 per cent of the nation’s importers are non-compliant with the Customs’ duty and charges.

According to him, Nigerian importers are unpatriotic to Nigeria because when they pay duty to other countries they deny Nigeria of its dues.

Ali, who was speaking as the Chief Host at the public presentation of the book “Appraisal of Crime of Smuggling in Nigeria” in Abuja, pointed out that the belief of a typical Nigerian, is that he does not owe his country any obligation.

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“Somebody picked up two cars from Benin Republic, when he landed in Benin he paid every charges, he moved them to Niger, and paid every charges he was supposed to pay.

But those cars were destined for Nigeria. When he now came to Nigeria, he decided to take an unaccustomed route and brought those cars to Nigeria.

And when we did apprehend those vehicles the question I asked him was: why are you so unpatriotic, you could pay to Benin Republic, you could pay to Niger, and then coming to your own home, you don’t want to pay?

He said the duty was too high,” Ali said.

He noted that Nigeria cannot make progress in a situation where people are not complying with the law and where all that Nigerians think is how to circumvent the law.

He commended the author of the book, Musa Omale for not allowing his knowledge, experience and writing skills to die.

The customs boss noted that the book has made the job of the NCS easier and enjoined all the stakeholders to buy and read it.

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He assured the author that the Nigeria Customs Service will deploy copies of the books to its libraries and commands.

Speaking with journalists, immediate past president of Association of Nigerian License Customs Agents, Chief Ernest Elochukwu noted that book is an exposure of the dimension of smuggling and the laws that are in place to tackle it.

He said that the fight against smuggling can also be viewed from other angles like the creation of an enabling environment that does not promote smuggling.

He said that government can achieve enabling environment by making sensible policies in terms of what it bans and does not ban.

In his remarks, Omale said that he was motivated to focus on smuggling in his Doctoral research to put his experience as an officer of the NCS for the past 26 years at the disposal of others and to highlight the level of damage being done by smuggling to the economy.

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