By Eguono Odjegba
THE Lagos Industrial Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has advised small scale excise producers to stop making themselves object of criminal attention in a rat race with police, by providing a legitimate cover for their products through procurement of excise licences.
Customs Area Controller of the Command, Comptroller Shekarau L. Dangana, who took this position in a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report, said any excise product duly registered by the excise department of the Customs automatically wears the seal of legitimacy and therewith protected against any form of arrest or harassment.
He lamented the level of ignorance amongst micro scale industrialists engaged in the production of alcoholic drinks and beverages on how to protect themselves from arrest by the Police through official certification.
He said the command is planning a synergy with the Lagos Police Command, in the fight to rid the state of illegal factories, noting that what makes an excise product illegal is principally the lack of certification.
Dangana said: “We have noticed that ignorance is a factor for running away from Police, and for not registering excise production. Excise production is a legitimate economic venture only when it is registered with the Customs excise department.
“The registration earns operators excise license, and together with your NAFDAC certificate, you don’t have anything to fear. Once you are paying your excise duty and making your alcoholic drinks or beverages within the safe framework of standard practice, you have no reason to run from the Police.
“You can even operate at cottage level, you are in business and nobody can harass you provided you are covered by Customs excise. The Lagos Police Command has been busting some of these illegal factories, and we are thinking of paying the commissioner of police a visit. We want to get involved anytime they carry out major operations so that we can educate these people on the need to fulfil certain official conditions to enable them to remain in business without fear of anyone coming to arrest them.”
Dangana said the command made a total excise collection of N2.8 billion in the first quarter of 2019.