Indiscriminate Customs queries on imports hinders economic growth – LCCI

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has decried the indiscriminate valuation queries of invoice of imported items by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

It said the action would hinder economic growth.

A communique issued after the chamber’s council meeting and released to newsmen by its Director-General, Muda Yusuf, on Monday in Lagos said that indiscriminate valuation queries of invoice by Customs was a ploy to improve its revenue generation.

The chamber advised that a credible ground to dispute value of invoice on imports should be created.

 “Prices vary across different regions of the world. Regrettably there is no dependable dispute resolution framework in place to ensure speedy resolution of such disputes,” it said.

It said that an independent dispute resolution mechanism that could resolve valuation disputes within 48 hours should be evolved because of the cost implications of delays to importers.

The council urged the Presidency, Minister of Finance and Comptroller-General of Customs to urgently investigate and resolve the issue.

It said that the current arrangement whereby appeals were made to the customs headquarters was not in consonance with the principle of natural justice, adding that Customs should not be a judge in its own case.

The council commended the latest Executive Order 5 issued by the Federal Government and aimed at encouraging local content and initiatives in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.

The council, however, noted that the quality of implementation of the Executive Order and previous directives would make the real difference in its outcomes and impact.

“The procurement policy for the MDAs, which prescribes that patronage of Made-in-Nigeria products, should be prioritised in government expenditure is yet to be effectively implemented.

“The Cabotage Law which was meant to create opportunities for indigenous players in the maritime sector is yet to have the desired impact,” the council said.

It also noted that the board of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies critical to the smooth functioning of the economy were yet to be constituted and undecided for some time.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) suspended its first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in 2018, due to the bank’s inability to form a quorum as a result of non-confirmation of the newly appointed MPC members by the Senate.

“This situation is beginning to take its toll on the economy,” it said.

The council urged the Presidency and the National Assembly to uphold national interest for economic growth above their differences and constitute boards for all the MDAs without further delay.

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