The federal government has been advised to return the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to the ports in a bid to ascertain the difference between raw materials and finished goods imported into the country as the country is said to be losing about N5 billion monthly to sharp practices.
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Transparency Network Group (TANGO) in a statement issued on Monday 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.
Speaking, TANGO’s National Coordinator, Engr. Uche Okechukwu, raised the alarm over the influx of over 300 trucks of finished products of roofing sheets 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.
He said this done through wrong declaration with connivance with releasing officers of some government agencies at the port.
This has led to huge revenue loss by the federal government by evading duty payment with the support of Customs officers to the detriment of the nation’s economy and local investors.
The statement also corroborated the position of the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad 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 full weight 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.