The National Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has advised officers of the Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to know the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), the Common External Tariff (CET) regime and explanatory notes in their various operations.
ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, gave the advice at a training initiated by the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Charles Edike, for Assistant Superintendents II serving in the Command.
He said an understanding of guidelines of cargo clearance in the ports would enable officers to discharge their duties effectively to defend their actions.
Shittu said while the Customs enforced the government’s policies, the Customs agents implemented the rules. Therefore, when interfacing with agents, clarity of what is expected of them should be uppermost in the officers’ minds.
He advised the officers to utilise their weekends and public holidays to improve their knowledge in order to make the desired progress in their chosen careers, and also be courteous in relating with others.
Shittu advised the officers never to report what they are not sure of during physical examination, and not to allow money be their main focus at the expense of doing the right thing.
The Customs Area Comptroller Edike thanked Shittu for his time in training the officers. He noted that the officers must have been better for it because of the practical examples in the lecture.
ANLCA chief, while reacting to the recommendations in the report submitted by the committee set up by the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, to proffer solutions to the problem of congestion at the Lagos ports, said it was not right for an association to collect money from its members in the port premises.
Shittu said the adoption of this recommendation by the Transport Minister is a right step in the right direction. “It is not right and professional for an association to say that they’ll be collecting money in the ports. We have been saying this for so long. At the national level, we are not in support of collection of fees inside the ports,” he said.
He said there is an adhoc arrangement made at the chapter levels of the association which members agreed to contribute money to their respective chapter’s purse for handling of their welfare. “There was no general declaration that this is where ANLCA is going to be collecting money,” he added.
Shittu said ANLCA has worked out better ways of collecting dues from its members.
He said: “Collection of dues from members has been made easy by the present leadership. I can tell you that our members have never at anytime raised eyebrows over collection. The money being collected was approved by our members at a town hall meeting in 2010/2011, where they voluntarily decided to contribute money from their income to sustain the association. I can also tell you that that was an improved way of collection, because, before then, taskforces were set up who go about harassing people at the gate.
“Those were the days when things were not being done professionally. But, I can tell you that we don’t have anybody chasing anybody to collect money. We have even designed a better means of collecting money from our people where they pay their money yearly for the purpose of running the affairs of the association.”
Information from The Nation was used in this report.