ANLCA president, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike in black cap and black shirt flanked by others at the high table during the event.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has on the 28th of this month at the main auditorium of the Rockview Hotel Apapa inaugurated its own 100% Compliance Team. The occassion had key stakeholders in the maritime sector in attendance.
In a keynote address by the President of the association, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike, he said ” I dare say that creating the best workplace environment fitted with the state of the art ICT cannot on its own give you efficiency if the human beings to work there are operating in defiance to rules and procedures. From our findings, over 30% of revenue collected by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) were achieved through interventions such as demand notice (DN), which are most times, fallouts of non-compliance”.
Some executive members of the Compliance Team at the occasion.
The President noted that non-compliance has manifested through under declaration, under valuation, false declaration, deliberate application of wrong Harmonized System (HS) Code to evade accurate duty payments and outright smuggling which have resulted in seizures and arrests. He advised that all the agencies of government operating within the maritime sector as well as the private sector people consider being more complaint to stem the tide of the creation of multiple interventionist units which in the end makes the operation of businesses in the ports more arduous. The President also also advised that as a country we should not be signing treaties and agreements that we will not comply with as he added that we should build a culture of national intergrity in all fronts at home for good international image.
Some of the other members of the team at the occassion.
In a goodwill message, the representative of the AIG maritime at the Nigerian Police Force, D. C. Okoro-Alawari spoke on the need for licensed customs agents and indeed everyone within the sector to be compliant at all times as he gave a personal experience of the effect and cost of one not complying with the rules. In the words of the representative of the ACG of zone A, Nigeria Customs Service, DC Ano, “who should be compliant? It is you and I, compliance is a function of intergrity and so we should strive to be compliant”. The representative of the Executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Ndukwe Emenike noted that if you do not weed yourselves of unprofessional elements, you do not have the right to complain about non-compliance. Engineer Onucheyo of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) noted that the problems they usually have with importers and agents are the same old ones like, having goods which have on them the inscription, ‘made for export only’, importation of goods with labels written in languages that we are not familiar with, alterations on documents and outright forgeries which are direct fallouts of corrupt tendencies and which do not encourage compliance, he urged everyone to be more compliant.
The Western Zone of the association coordinators being sworn in.
The occassion also saw the swearing in of the new coordinator of the association in the Southwest Zone of the country as well as his secretary, Mr. Femi Anifowoshe is the new coordinator while the very cerebral Dr. Mazi Mbakwe is his secretary.
The major event of the day was the swearing in of the team, the vice President of the association, Dr. Kayode Farinto while calling out the members advised that the objective of setting up the team is not to create dichotomy between them and the chapter chairmen, neither is it to water down the powers of these chairmen, but that it was as a result of the vital need to make sure that members understand the importance for honesty in words and in action while doing their duty. At this juncture, the members of the team were called out for the official Inauguration by the President who swore them into office.
The members of the Compliance Team being sworn in by the President.
The over 50 member compliance team with about 8 executive members has Mr. Lameen Aliya as the coordinator, Fatai Sobowale Vice Chairman, Emma Anyame Secretary, other members are Dr Lere Ogundele, Major Patrick (Rtd), Chidi Alagbaso and C.C Okafor and they were all present at the ceremony.
The coordinator in his vote of thanks said that the compliance team has been set up to encourage licensed customs agents, freight forwarders and all government approved agencies to comply with the extant laws governing all operations within the Ports and that this is not an attempt to fight or antagonise anyone in the Ports, he said that over the years that importers and freight forwarders have been at the mercy of shipping companies and terminal operators, but that they will make sure that shippers now only pay for rendered services and that the terminal operators upgrade their facilities to meet up with the required standard. He therefore called on all freight forwarders to make honest declaration at all times so that their jobs can be made more easy. He also asked for the willing cooperation of all port users in other that the inherent benefits derivable can be achieved.
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