By Godfrey Bivbere
Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, NCS, has been advised to refocus its agitation away from stoppage of duty on vessel imports to the utilization of the duty for the development of the nation’s shipping industry.
Giving the advice in Lagos at a group meeting organised by the NCS, Deputy Controller in charge of enforcement at Tin-Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Dera Nnadi, said this should be explored as a temporary measure while waiting for the removal of import duty for ships.
He, however, stressed that it is not within the authority of Customs to speak on policies of the government but to simply implement them.
The Customs officer explained that stakeholders have been complaining about payment of duty on vessel importation, adding that it is part of the responsibility of the Service to get feedback from their interaction with stakeholders during operations and forward same to the appropriate authority for consideration.
According to him, “What I expect the Chamber to do is to say, since so much has been collected as the duty from vessel importation, can we also divert some of it for the development of the shipping sector? That is what you should be asking.
“I know the issue of target came up here. Again target setting is a function of government. The question is the money collected by Customs, what is it used for?
“That money is paid into the TSA (Treasury Single Account) account; Customs does not have access to it. Customs also operates on a budget; so most of the money collected by Customs also go back to the government for development of other sectors of the economy,” he noted.