A maritime research group, Sea Empowerment and Research Centre has stated that trade compliance in Nigeria dropped by 20 per cent under the Col Hammed Ali (retd)-led administration of the Nigeria Customs Service in the last eight years.

The Head of Research of the group, Dr Eugene Nweke, said this in his assessment report of Ali’s 8 years as the Customs boss sighted by our correspondent.

In the report, Nweke said that before 2015, the compliance level had risen from 20 per cent to 30 per cent due to the implementation of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report.

He, however, claimed that if the Customs had adhered to its commitment to the implementation of the future development plan of the PAAR complaints, trade compliance could have risen above 50 per cent.

According to him, in 2013, the PAAR phase was successfully deployed into the import clearance process.

He added that it graduated to a new portal known as the enhanced PAAR Platform, which was effectively deployed in 2014.

“Subsequently, implementation processes and attainments gained the management’s desire to be a model administration with excellence in providing effective and efficient services to the trading community, while achieving graduated trade compliance processes.

“On subsequent performance to the implementation, it must be stated that the compliance level of the trading public to national trade law was at the progression, from 20 per cent to 35 per cent and was expected to hit above 50 per cent if the management had adhered with its commitment to the implementation of the future development plan of the PAAR system and sustained by the PAAR Ruling Centre  Unfortunately, non-compliance to trade laws has gone below 20 per cent.

“It is on this note that this modest wishes to set forth backgrounds to restate that the former Comptroller General inherited an organisation’s well-being and capacity is nationally and internationally recognised, hence, it took over its reigns as the chief administrator of Nigeria Customs Service, with a “ 3Rs”( Reform, Restructure and Revenue ), driving the management policy thrust.”

The former president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders said that available records show that, the Customs generated a total of N8tn from 2016 to 2021.

He said that the administration will be remembered for higher revenue generation records but, without a predictable and corresponding cargo throughput growth per year, recorded under the regime.

“Regrettably, higher revenue without recourse to the analysis of the impact on the overall economic well-being of the citizens and trading community concerning the; ever-increasing foreign exchange regime, inflation, capital flight, thriving hardship in the businesses climate, the lower purchasing power of the citizens, etc,” Nweke concluded.

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