The Federal Government has been urged to return the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the ports in a bid to ascertain the difference between raw materials and finished imported goods as the country is said to be losing about N5 billion monthly to wrong declaration by importers.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Transparency Network Group (TANGO) in a statement issued on Monday said this is done through wrong declaration in connivance with releasing officers of the Nigeria Customs Service and some government agencies at the port.
TANGO’s National Coordinator, Engr. Uche Okechukwu, said “Nigeria’s economy is on the verge of total collapse if not urgently rescued”, stressing that there are lots of atrocities being perpetrated by some importers.
He disclosed that there are over 300 trucks of finished products of roofing sheets imported 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 Lagos Ports late last month.
The statement also corroborated the position of the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, who disclosed recently that “Nigeria cannot survive without borrowing” adding that the loss of revenue to importers is enormous and hazardous to the nation.
According to Okechukwu, “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 Customs officers who can differentiate between raw materials and finished products? In addition, is there nobody to inspect the ship at the point of loading to ascertain the items as contained in the manifests?
“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 should be brought to bear for their evasion of appropriate duties payment.”
“The trading companies involved are; 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,” the statement said.