Segun Musa, chairman of National Association of Government Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Murtala Muhammed Airport Ikeja command, has warned that a lot of importers may close shop this year if some policies on import and export were not reviewed.
Speaking in Lagos, he said a situation where the customs were allowed to handle some aspects of port operations in shoddy manners has led to importers relocation their business from Nigeria.
Musa, who raised alarm over high level of revenue leakages at the ports, said high import tariff were crumbling crumbling busineses.
“Customs officers mismanaged the ports, they have not brought to table any meaningful policy that will actually drive the industry. Because they are saddled with the responsibility of checking revenue being collected by the freight forwarders, they actually mismanaged the ports”
“The revenue leakage is more than the revenue collected in Nigeria, the tariff on imports are so high and that has taken a lot of business out Nigeria”
“We have criticised the President Arrival Report that government should not saddle the customs with issuance of that certificate but the customs came with all kinds of snow whiting discuss that they won’t be any query again when they start issuing the Certificate” ”
He called on the federal government to engage private sector in policy formulations in order to get things right stressing that importation was not responsible for the demise of some major industries in the country but as a result of bad roads, insecurity and poor power generation.
He explained that they will soon go into a regime of external tariff where every importer is at liberty to import goods and pay tariff any where in the world and go to the border to clear their goods without paying to customs.
“By the time importers start going to Ghana, Togo, Abidjan and Cotonou to pay duties, there will be loss of revenue here and our terminals will be turned into football field where they will be no activities going on in the shed. So, you can imagine how the Labour market will look like when about three million people will be thrown out of the market
He noted that Nigeria has the highest number of contraband goods all over the world adding that it was not in the interest of the nation.