By Godfrey BIVBERE
Comptroller- General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko, has issued two months ultimatum to Direct Traders Input (DTI) operators to get operating license or face the full weight of the law.
The DTI is an electronic portal that allows importers and their agents to input data of their consignment into the central system to help eliminate paper work from cargo clearing process.
The Customs helmsman gave the ultimatum in Lagos on Tuesday at a stakeholders sensitization meeting, stressed that the Service will henceforth come down hard on those who fail to get their license after the expiration of the ultimatum.
He also warned those that have license to be careful about the use of their license as he has instructed his officers to seize any license used for unauthorized purposes.
According to him, “I have resolved that henceforth, I am giving only two months to those operators of Direct Traders Input (DTI) to get a license. Now I am not going to give anybody the permission to operate a DTI without a license. Anyone who has a license, we will allow him have a DTI. If you use your license unwisely, you will have double jeopardy because we will seize your license and seize the DTI.”
On allegation by a representative of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. July Ogboru, on the activities of his stooges called ‘CG boys’ from the port, Dikko said that “It is you (agents). You collect a job from an importer, you sublet it to a junior agent, and the agent sublet the job of an officer. I am surprised that most of you stood up. In the whole of Nigeria, most of our problems are from Tin-can Island (Command).
“Initially I set up benchmark. The reason we set up benchmark is so clear. When we take an average value, we believe that when you pay that amount and anybody delays you, in fact he will find himself in somewhere like Yobe or Plateau. But you people went to the press and everywhere to start accusing me. When we bring up something that will appease all, some people go about…and you find out that those who go about do not even have a license, they are touts. Nigeria belongs to all of us,” he stated.
Ogboru advised that if the Customs must achieve success with the use of Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), the perceived CG boys must be removed.
According to her, many of the officers deliberately flout directives given to them by Area Controllers. She said that there are officers on the field who have created islands for themselves.
“The only thing that can make the PAAR to work is to remove these officers from the field,” Ogboru said.