There is anxiety among Customs agents over imported vehicles trapped at a Lagos bonded terminal. It was gathered that Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has blocked about 107 clearing licences for failure to make payment on imported vehicles previously assessed and valued by the importers, a development currently causing ripples at Clarion Bonded Terminal in Lagos.
Factional Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Island Port, Mr Ojo Akintoye, explained that the executives of the association had set up a 10-man committee to interface with the customs and find a lasting solution to the challenges.
Akintoye said: “Some of our people, when the copy of Bill of Laden is sent to them, without being paid by the importer, go ahead to carry out assessment and valuation of the cargo from Nigeria Customs Service. At the end, their practicing licenses would be flagged by customs.”
He stressed that this had been the procedure at all terminals, but that Clarion Bonded Terminal was only experiencing the challenge because they are only implementing their’s now.
Akintoye said: “We have told the Customs that there is no need for them to block the licences because this would affect revenue. “The agent should look for a way of paying these money, it is not a fresh job, some of these assessment has been done for more than a year.
“I was told that most of the vehicles are still stranded at Clarion Bonded Terminal, not yet cleared, but what Customs knows is that assessment were done on these vehicles and they were not paid for, and you know that the Customs need money this time around, even more than the Federal Government itself. I am aware that 107 agencies and licenses are being affected.”
The ANLCA chairman explained that the 10-man committee would carry out an investigation to establish if the affected vehicles are still inside Clarion terminal, adding that if the vehicles are there, the agent would not be made to pay.