The federal government has been advised to return the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the nation’s ports in a bid to ascertain the difference between raw materials and finished goods imported into the country to avoid wrong declaration with connivance with releasing officers of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS).
The development has led to the huge revenue loss by the federal government through evasion duty payment with the support of Custom officers to the detriment of the nation’s economy and local investors.
A non-governmental organisation, The Transparency Network Group, (TANGO) in a statement issued on Monday stated that, “Nigeria economy is on the verge of total collapse if not urgently rescued”, stressing that there were lots of atrocities being perpetrated by some importers.
The group also corroborated the position of the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, who recently disclosed that “Nigeria cannot survive without borrowing,” adding that the loss of revenue to importers is enormous and hazardous to the nation.”
Speaking further, TANGO national coordinator, Engr. Uche Okechukwu, raised the alarm over the influx of over 300 trucks of finished products of roofing sheets to the country by some importers with low quality gauge and declared them with wrong H.S Code 7905.0000.00 which is meant for a raw material called magnesium ingots (zinc plates) against the H.S. Code 7210.4100.00 and 7210.4910.00 for corrugated roofing sheets in a ship with the name, AMIX ELEGANCE, which arrived at Apapa Port in Lagos late last month.
According to him, “To our dismay, the same importer had brought another large quantity of roofing sheets with a ship called; AMIS GLORY at the Apapa Lagos Port, thereby flouting and disregarding the law of the federal republic of Nigeria. Our question is that, are there no competent custom officers who can differentiate between raw materials and finished products? In addition, are there nobody to inspect the ship at the point of loading to ascertain the items as contained in the manifests?
“This is gross sharp practices against the guidelines of the Standard Organization of Nigeria, (SON) by importing substandard products which deserves appropriate sanctions and measures to curtail this heinous crime against Nigerian economy.
“Our findings have shown that the documents presented for release of consignment at destination port were found to be fraught with under-invoicing and wrong declaration to the lowest duty rate with the intention of committing economic crimes against the people and government of Nigeria.
“Revenue evasion under Customs Excise Laws which is punishable under relevant sections full weight be brought to bear for their evasion of appropriate duties payment.”
The group identified the trading companies involved to include Buildgen Nigeria, H & C Steel Industry fze, Hilfort Business Ventures, Iron Products Ind. Ltd, Kinshimo Enterprises, Metalberg Manufacturing, Panda Industries fze and Steel Line Industries.
“TANGO thereby request that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) and the Presidential Committee for Sharp Mal-practices (PTCMS) to investigate the genuinety of these importers to know if truly they are members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN) as well as the rationale behind the importation of finished goods into the country instead of manufacturing them locally and create jobs for our youths, thereby invading revenue of about N2billion monthly,” Okechukwu added.
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