The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), has raised concerns that the N21 trillion revenue target set for the Nigeria Customs Service by the Federal Government would lead to unnecessary taxes and charges on port operators and by implication, increase the cost of imported goods.
The National President of association, Tony Iju Nwabunike, who expressed his fears during an interactive chat with maritime correspondents, pointed out that in the quest to meet their target, custom officers would become overzealous and start issuing excessive alerts, demand notices which would in turn, frustrate legitimate business.
He said: “ANLCA is against the federal government giving the Nigeria Customs Service a target, this is the only country that is setting target for their customs, the Customs Service is supposed to facilitate trade and ensure security of goods and services in and out of the country, and moreover to maintain the standard of import guidelines and procedures.
“This issue of setting target for customs is putting them under pressure, the government should look for trade facilitation, our customs should not be an inland revenue or VAT agency, they should allow custom to work according to world standard, they should look into the proper nomenclature of how customs is being run.
“Have you targeted the inflow of goods and services into the country? What is the number of cargoes coming into the country that would enable us generate that kind of target? Are they trying to impress people to import more when the government is preaching export and local manufacturing, it negates each other”, he queried.
According to him, government is indirectly telling Customs to start giving unnecessary taxation that is criminal.
“If, for example, you tax people negatively, it becomes a criminal matter, so why is the federal government of Nigeria putting customs under pressure with revenue generation, they should allow customs to relax to do their work in line with World Customs Organization (WCO) standards”, the ANCLA leader advised.
In addition, Nwabunike urged the government to set aside a certain percentage of the total revenue generated by the Customs yearly as compensation for declarant.
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