BY TAIWO OGUNMOLA-OMILANI
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has expressed concerns at the recurring bottlenecks associated with the Customs Service, which are hindering the ease of doing business by manufacturing companies.
The Director-General of NECA, Dr. Timothy Olawale stated this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
NECA urged that at a time when all hands must be on deck to promote local enterprise competitiveness and prevent job losses, actions of Nigeria Customs Service operatives are jeopardizing Government’s efforts at promoting the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Olawale stated that “it is a known fact that the world economy is on the precipice with nations doing all that is necessary to keep their productive sector going. Recent incessant issues with the Nigeria Customs Service have become worrisome as it has the potential to push businesses off the cliff, thereby fast-tracking the demise of more enterprises and exacerbating the current unemployment situation in Nigeria”.
While expressing concern at operational challenges faced by businesses, he expressed that “rather than facilitate enterprise competitiveness in line with the Government’s policy on Ease of Doing Business, Customs operatives have constituted themselves into clogs in the wheel of legitimate businesses through inconsistent and arbitrary tariff classification, excessive and unfriendly duty rate on key raw materials without local substitute, improper valuation of consignments and reckless interception of containers after legitimate clearance, amongst others.
“With dwindling oil prices and at a time when the nation needs all the investment it can attract, these bottlenecks will further make the nation to fall behind in investment destination rating.
The NECA DG urged that “while the Customs Service is desirous of meeting its revenue target, it should not be at the expense of legitimate businesses. With the AfCFTA coming into effect 1st January, 2021, these recurring issues will only destroy Nigerian businesses and make importation of manufactured goods more attractive with grave consequences for Nigeria and Nigerian as a whole”