Another controversy brews as freight forwarders operating in the country’s ports demand five per cent commission from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for revenue generated by them.
Following the huge revenue recorded by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in its first quarter 2015, freight forwarders are demanding for the compulsory 5 per cent commission of the total revenue generated at the gateways at the end of the year. Specifically, the freight forwarders want President Muhammedu Buhari to come to their aid and judiciously look into their demand for the interest of peace in the ports. A chieftain of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), PTML chapter, Sunday Davis Nwarinne said at the Association of Igbo Maritime Practitioners in Nigeria (PTML)’s one day practical workshop for agents in the gateways, that statutorily the freight forwarders need to be compensated by government since they are the ones generating the revenue through import duties, levies and tariffs for government.
Nwarinne stated that it is worrisome that Nigeria Customs has continue to prolong the matter all this while in spite of calls at different functions by industry stakeholders for them to heel to the approval to grant certain percent to Nigerian agents for their efforts in the country’s revenue drive. “Yes, I support it. Nigeria Customs needs to part some certain per centage of the country’s revenue drive that is realize from the ports whether it is 3, 4 or 5 per cent. This will go along way in steering cordial relationship between NCS and agents. Besides, this money we are the ones that that made it for Nigeria Customs to generate it on behalf of government through import duties at the ports. “It will be good if President Muhammadu Buhari can look at the matter with keen interest because statutorily we qualify to be compensated,” Nwarinne added.
Meanwhile, the Apapa Area 1 Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) the highest revenue generator for the Service, recorded revenue of N74.11 billion in the first quarter of 2015, up from N55.36 billion generated in the corresponding period of 2014. This was despite a drop in the number of vessels that called at the ports within the period. While a total of 118 vessels called at the port in the first quarter of 2015, 130 vessels called in the same period of 2014. In addition, 48,487 containers were discharged in the first quarter of 2015 in contrast to 57,908 containers discharged in the same period of 2014. The second highest revenue generator for the Service, Tin-Can Island Command generated N61.6 billion revenue in the first quarter of 2015.
The amount was higher compared to N59.8 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2014. President Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, also affirmed that government should consider giving the customs agents the five per cent commission on duties collected, so that there would be dramatic increase in revenue generation. Shittu said: “Government pays commission to all their agents. They use contractors, they pay all consultants. We are consulting for the Federal Government. That is why revenue generation has been going up. “We are supposed to be part of it in order to encourage port compliant and commitment. Government should concentrate on maritime industry as alternative to oil revenue because there are a lot of untapped resources in the maritime industry.”