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NAGAFF CAUTIONS SENATE OVER CALL FOR REJECTION OF CUSTOMS BILL

By NBF News
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http://www.nigerianbestforum.com/blog/?attachment_id=122118 A clamour by some interest groups in the maritime sector advocating the rejection of amended Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) by the Senate has been described as self-serving.

The National President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Eugene Nweke  while canvassing this position in an interview with newsmen described the suggestion as not only self-serving.

A group, purported to be stakeholders in maritime sector was quoted in the media appealing to the President and members of the Senate to reject the amended Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) bill recently passed by the House of Representatives as according to the group, the process leading to the passage of the bill at the House of Representatives was shoddy and not reflective of all the interest group.

NAGAFF leader described the submission attributed to some interests in maritime sector as not only mischievous but self-serving.     He said the passage  of the bill by the House of Representatives   followed an extensive public hearing conducted and all  the stakeholders in maritime sector  were given unfettered opportunity to air their  views  both in  oral submission and in written , thus wondering while sudden volt face  by  so-called  stakeholders.

In his opinion, he counseled the interest group to allow the Act to be put in to use in maritime sector at least for five years to observe it potency after which they can call for its review.

'In Nigeria today, anybody and everybody can chose to come under any guise or group to make pronouncements because the freedom of expression guarantees that. The CEMA clearly sets out how to democratize the board of customs. I think it should be put to test for five years after which if there are issues it can be taken care of', he affirmed.

On granting six month extension to four contracted firms engaged to undertake destinations inspection of imports to Nigeria; he said government need not extending the contract because men of Nigeria Customs have been adequately trained to perform the task.

'The Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) has undergone tremendous improvement lately that bringing these expatriates to take over the job of Customs is as good as rendering over 10,000 young Nigerians currently recruited by the Service in preparation for this type of service delivery amount to idleness.  I tell you that the one per cent of FOB is just the attraction. Does their engagement add value to the system? Our shippers will continue to pay through their noses', he said.

The Federal Government through Finance Ministry last week approved   a six-month contract extension for four firms handling destination inspection of imports in to the country.  The firms are, Cotena, Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS), Globaalscan System and Webb Fontaine.

The contract was first singed by the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Federal Government in 2005 and was to come into effect on 1st January 2006 and to terminate on December 31st, 2012.

The extension has drawn criticisms from various interest groups.