Clearing agents under the auspices of the National Association of Government Approve Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have called for the removal of Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Command, Lagos, Mr. Jayne Shoboiki, over the implementation of new policy at the command without awareness.
The Vice President of NAGAFF, Air Logistics, Western Zone, Mr. Segun Musa told journalists on Tuesday at the airport that the insistence of Shoboiki on the adoption of Form M as a mandatory document for importation is wrong and does not meet the clearance process.
NAGAFF declared that critical stakeholders like the clearing agents were not carried along before the introduction of Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System II (NICIS II) in the command.
Last Monday, clearing agents had grounded activities at the Lagos Airport following the introduction of the new policy by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Lagos Airport Command.
The clearing agents also accused the command of tripling charges imposed on them for clearance of consignments at the airport. In their hundreds, they protested in the open the directive from Shoboiki that all consignments must, as from July 13, 2018, be on Form M.
The agents insisted that the policy is anti-progress, stressing that some of the consignments could not come with Form M as they were not major goods.
Musa said: “The insistence of the MMA Command on the position of form ‘M,’ which is a mandatory document for importation is wrong and does not meet the clearance process as smooth and rewarding as it use to be in the past.
“We, as stakeholders in the industry, were not briefed of this latest development, before the introduction of Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System II (NICIS II) in the command.
But, reacting, Public Relations Officer, MMA Command of Customs, Mr. Ephraim Haruna, debunked the claim of NAGAFF, insisting that Form ‘M’ as a prerequisite for importation into Nigeria is not a policy of the Command but a guideline from the Federal Government.
He stated that the guidelines says that 'any person intending to import physical goods into Nigeria shall in the first instance process the e-Form ‘M’ through any Authorised Dealer Bank irrespective of the value and whether or not payment is involved'.
“Moreover, the recently implemented NICIS II makes provision of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) a must, and PAAR cannot be gotten without Form ‘M', he added.
He declared that clearing agents were sensitised before the launch of NICIS II at the Command, stressing that customs officers, clearing agents and other stakeholders including members of NAGAFF were part of the two weeks training at the Zonal Headquarters Yaba and Apapa Area Command, respectively.
“To therefore say they were not sensitised will be simply a denial of fact that is on records,” he said.
He insisted that the command would always be focused on suppression of smuggling, collection of appropriate customs duties while still facilitating trade.
He added that Shoboiki was willing to meet with any individual or group that would add value to the function of Nigeria Customs Service at the airport.
It would be recalled that since Shoboki was deployed to the airport command in March this year, it had been one form of crisis or the other.
Shoboiki, as a Deputy CAC at Tincan Island, also left the command after a series of crises between her and clearing agents and other stakeholders.