The Nigeria Customs Service on Wednesday clearly stated its role(s) and function(s) in the clearing process of goods in the country.
The Acting Public Relations Officer, of the NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, made the clarification while reacting to the recent discovery of substandard tyres worth ₦5 billion imported into the country by some Chinese nationals and with the help of whistle-blowers were seized by Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) in Lagos two days ago.
According to the PRO, products standards control is the sole responsibility of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), not Nigeria Customs Service.
Mr. Attah told journalists in Abuja that the function of Customs was to collect duty and ensure that contraband did not enter the country either by air, sea or land. He stressed that customs’ duty was not to determine quality but only to collect duty.
Breaking down the core role of Customs in clearing process, Mr. Attah said during every examination of an item, if any importer got a clearance document duly signed by SON certifying such item okay and attached it to that of customs document, Customs would release such item after duty payment is made. In other words, once an importer gets a clearance document, certifying an item okay by SON, customs would only collect duty and release such item.
People who sometime ask question, need to know the function of customs and the function of other regulatory agencies. Before customs clears an item, a personnel of SON will be present to certify it okay.
If the personnel out of negligence or did not carry out his duty properly and signed that the item is okay and cleared it, customs will collect duty and release such item because of SON clearance document.
The issue of standard is in the hands of SON, customs only to collects duty so far that is not contraband.
We are not in a position to determine quality, the job of determining quality is in the hand of SON and if it is a food item, the job of determining whether it is fit for human consumption is NAFDAC.
So in this kind of situation, it is only when you trance the clearing document, you will know whether a personnel of SON is involved or not.
There is no way customs will release containers of such tyres without a clearance certificate by the SON,’’ Attah said.
Still trying to drive home his point, the Customs PRO cited an instance that if Garri was not prohibited and NAFDAC official signed an examination paper certifying it okay, once Customs officials got an evidence that NAFDAC had cleared it, duty would be collected and the wares released.