30th March, 2012
The management of the Nigeria Customs Service may have bitten more than what it could chew with the gathering momentum of opposition which its controversial benchmark policy on evaluation of imports has stirred up.
The benchmark policy on assessing duties payable on containerized imports has expectedly ignited widespread condemnation and consternation among importers who claimed that the profit margin on their import businesses have been wiped off by the obnoxious policy.
Consequently, co-ordinated attacks have been launched by the traders and clearing agents who have vowed to resist the policy.
A last minute effort by Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, the Comptroller-General of Customs, to placate the agitated traders yielded the opposite result as it aggravated the feud and toughened the resolve of the angry importers to carry on the fight.
Following this, the traders have mapped out a multi-pronged strategy to shoot down the unpopular policy.
At the fore front of the opposition is a coalition of importers and exporters group called Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders led by Barrister Osuala and Chukwumalu Emeka.
The opposition has decided not only to employ what it called civil disobedience where they will not comply with the new policy, but have also resolved to take legal action against the management of the Nigeria Customs over the matter.
The Customs hierarchy was said to have least expected the organised opposition from the trading public, especially port users, instead, preferring to romance with Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and National Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).