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Nigerian customs is the most backward in the world – Dr Olusegun Musa

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… If the government privatizes Customs, the cost of goods in the market will reduce by 50%”

By Omenihu Alfred fibmn

A Clarion call has been made to the the federal government of Nigeria by a highbrow and urbane Maritime Don to privatize Nigerian customs service like so many other nations of the world stating that the cost of commodities in the market will drop by 50% on total compliance of the exercise because the revenue they are collecting is less than 50 percentage they are suppose to pay to the government. This call was made during a media chat with some journalists in his office in Ogba Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, 2nd of September.

According to the MD / CEO of WIDESCOPE INTERNATIONAL LOGISTICS LIMITED, there is nothing special Customs is doing as far as revenue generation is concerned especially when you automate the system. “Revenue can be collected adequately without any condict pipe with few months training by any person. All you hear of Customs is seizures! Seisures!! Seizures!!! But the truth is that less than 30 percentage of the seizures are being declared because seizures are not audited”.
“Occasionally, customs replaces most of the viable products with expired products since nobody monitors seizures. Customs cannot be a judge in their own case. They cannot seize and be the ones to declare the number of items seized. Such unchecked authorization has brought lots of corruption in Nigerian Customs.”

Further more, he cited an instance when the former customs boss Late Abdullahi Dikko Inde MFR, OFR was being investigated, more than 50 brand new G.wagons were found in his house. “How much was his salary to have afforded such luxuries? This will tell you that the level of corruption in customs is massive. Customs is the custodian of the revenue of this country and because they have the discretion to do with the revenue the way they like is the reason why we are where we are today”

The scholarly and well cultured personality who has keen discernment henceof the system hence re-affirmed that if we want to move this nation’s economy to the next level, we must privatize customs. Dr Segun Musa frawned at the unethical conduct of customs which he asserted is enough for everyone to pronounce them as an unhealthy agency to the economy. He wondered how all the departments of customs like CIU, valuation, enforcement, etc and other government agencies will release a cargo in the port and the same cargo will still get stopped or intercepted by the same Customs? Sometimes they do re-examination openly on the road. This is very unethical and a sort of self- indictment that Customs officers in the port are corrupt. I have suggested to them to remove the untrusted ones in the port in other to ameliorate the embarrassment”

Talking about the customs server break down which has raised a lot of dusts, the former gubernatorial candidate of Advanced National Democratic Party (ANDP) in Lagos State, Hon. Dr Olusegun M. Musa reacted that custom as the principal is culpable. “It is worrisome even after all the promises from customs” he said.

Segun Musa, Deputy National President, Air Logistics, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) equally warned that a lot of things will go wrong if we fail to engage the government before they decision concerning us as stakeholders is concluded, “Again, we need to start asking question like how will the government see us as an important and relevant partners in this project called maritime or shipping. I tell you, until we engage the government constructively and consistently to establish our importance in this industry, they will never give us respect”.

Emphasizing on the importabce of Shipping to the growth of the economy, the erudite authority who has sound judgement of the industry said Shipping is like the heart of a person and if the heart stop breathing the whole body dies. “If shipping or transport fails health will fail, security will fail, Business will fail, every other sector will definitely colapse. This is the reason why some of us are very passionate when it comes to shipping and transport without using diplomacy of any sort to defend position and not minding whoever is offended”