The Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, has said that insistence of Customs Service on 100 per cent physical inspection of goods at Sea Ports is because importers are in the habit of falsifying documents.
Ali therefore described lack of trust by importers and traders as the major bottleneck in fast-tracking the clearing of goods in the ports.
He said statistics by the customs indicated that less than five per cent of importers processed their consignments with genuine invoices, saying the tendency for false declaration had hampered customs’ resolve to institutionalise a fast-tracking system in line with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) stipulation.
This, according to him, also explains why the NCS insists on 100 per cent physical assessment of goods imported into the country.
The Customs boss spoke in Lagos during an interactive session with members of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) as part of the programme heralding the second edition of MAN’s annual lecture.
Ali, who interacted with manufacturers from across the country who converged at Lagos Oriental Hotel on Wednesday evening, however, stated that MAN members were import-compliant except for a few whom he vowed to report to the MAN’s leadership.
According to him, the prevalence of false declaration was part of the reason why 1,100 pump action rifles concealed under the name of wash-hand basins could find their way into the country.
He said the guns would have been unleashed on the nation if the customs had overlooked the consignment and failed to carry out physical inspection.