By RICHARDS ADENIYI
EXECUTIVE Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, has said that about 80 per cent of revenue which is accruable to the Federal Government through Customs duty go into private pockets.
Bello who also doubles as the Port Economic Regulator told some maritime journalists recently at the Council head office in Lagos during a facility tour said most of the goods imported into the country are cleared with under-payment of duty and other sundry revenue that is accruable to the government.
Commenting on the revenue leakages in the ports, he affirmed that there are documentary evidences to attest that importers collude with officials of government agencies to defraud the government as he specifically alleged that the largest chunk of such losses is recorded through evasion and under-payment of Customs duty.
The Economic Regulator added that in some cases, importers pay as little as 10 per cent of accruable revenue into the pursue of the federal government quoting an instance where an importer paid a paltry sum of N120,000 out of the N1.2million that was to be paid.
Bello also confirmed that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council enjoys the cooperation of relevant agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Ports Authority, among others.
Only recently, the founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Boniface Aniebonam frowned at the alarming rate of corruption at ports despite recent government effort to curb the hydra-headed menace that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation’s economy.
The association said the corruption was getting worse on daily basis at the ports, insisting that the change mantra expected has become elusive.