By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—THE Nigeria Customs Service has read a riot act to investors in Ogun State, especially in the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone over import duty, declaring that no one would be allowed to either import or export anything into or out of the country without the payment of export or import duties.
The NCS also declared that it would not renege on its stance on the form “M” policy, which enables enterprises at the country’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) to process duty payment on their exports.
NCS Comptroller for Ogun Area Command, Controller, Hassan Gangua made the declaration while addressing heads of business enterprises operating at the Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, during his familiarisation visit to the zone yesterday.
He said “As far as Customs is concerned, if you have something to sell to Nigeria, you add value and you must pay duties; it’s just like importing goods.
“The issue of form “M” is a policy statement of the federal government and I cannot do anything otherwise, just like the issue of rice and “tokunbo” cars importation that are banned through the land borders. Government said rice must come through the sea port: all vehicles must come through the sea port. We are just implementing the policies.
“This is one of our duties apart from preventing smuggling. We also collect revenue and facilitate trades.
“The issue of form “M” which raised its head about two months ago and the management of Customs that thought it wise and necessary that all FTZ areas that bring things to add value must also obtain it and pay duties.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Custom officer in charge of the Ogun Guangdong FTZ, Chief Superintendent of Custom (CSC), Tunji Giwa had listed some challenges which include: deplorable conditions of the road, fluctuation in gas supply for electricity generation, management and leadership problem as well as the current economic meltdown among others.
He explained that despite those challenges which caused serious setback for Customs in revenue generation, the zone generated over N375 million to the covers of the federal government in the year 2016, while over N11 million was also realised in January 2017 alone.
Giwa, who disclosed that 23 out of more than 30 enterprise that registered for business in the Guangdong FTZ are currently operational, also said that over 5, 000 workers are employed in the zone.
In his own opening remark, the General Manager, China Africa, the Chinese business conglomerate who are operating business in the FTZ, Hanson Huang disclosed that Ogun Guangdong has provided a significant platform for cooperation and trade between Nigeria and China.
Huang however, assured that the management of the zone will ensure the infrastructural development of the area to create conducive environment for investors as well as improved welfare of workers.
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