27th May, 2011
Licensed Customs agents have expressed anger over the recent notice issued by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the renewal of licences.
A number of agentsÂ who reactedÂ to the new conditionsÂ as outlined by the Nigeria Customs Service said it is aimed at weeding out licences that do not belong to officials of the service.
A source who does not want his name mentioned told the media that about 80 per cent of these licences are owned by Customs officers themselves.
â€œThey are not supposed to own a licence because they are the issuer. If an act of fraud is noticed in any of these licences they are supposed to blacklist it but because they themselves are the ones in the system, they easily avoid it. They even engage in clearing jobs which under normal circumstances is not supposed to be,â€ the source stated.
The source noted that the involvement of Customs officers in clearing jobs will only make them less committed to their job, thereby becomingÂ inefficient even as the service has overtime emphasized on the training of its officers.
â€œAs a civil servant, Customs officers’ involvement in clearing jobs only implies that they are short-changing the government by spending a reasonable amount of their working hour in clearing jobs.
While noting that the service is the body responsible for the issuance of licences, the agents opined that their interest should also be considered as the amount involved in the renewal of licence is too expensive.
A licensed Customs agent who simply identifies himself as ChinagoromÂ Ibeh, wondered why the renewal of licences should only be based on the recommendation of the Area Controller when the bond and licensed unit of the service is still functional.
â€œWhat is the function of the Bond and Licensed unit? If the office is scrapped then let them tell us because this unit is basically set up to investigate the individual or company and then approve the licence before the issuance. If the officers are not competent let them send them away and bring the competent ones,â€ he said.