Customs Annual Revenue an Anomaly, Modernization Agenda Questionable-ITAS Chief
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The Managing Director/CEO of International Trade Advisory Services Ltd, ITAS, Mr. Okey has opened a new chapter in Customs/Cargo clearing processes in Nigeria with the official flag off and unveiling of International Trade Advisory Services Ltd, ITAS.
Addressing newsmen during the unveiling ceremony at its corporate office in Lekki Peninsular, Lagos and speaking on the mission, vision and services of ITAS, Mr. Ibeke said the company is an innovative indigenous brand, established by highly-trained and experienced professionals to provide technical and operational support services on Customs and other regulatory compliance matters for organizations that engage in trade across international borders.
In his words, “At ITAS we have the expertise to provide assistance in interpretation of Laws, Regulations, Product descriptions, Harmonized Tariff Codes, Valuation, Rules of Origin, Post Clearance Audit and the resolution of all Import/Export compliance and regulatory issues for our clients”
He said the company has developed procedures, training modules and assessment programs to identify compliance defects, develop solutions and coordinate improvement implementation.
“We provide professional resource with broad skill sets including technical specialists, licensed custom brokers, logistics experts, project managers, accountants, lawyers, freight forwarders and auditors”
“Our deep sense of commitment assures a win-win relationship for us, our clients and regulators in the international trade value chain. Our integrity and competence combine to qualify us to deliver world-class advisory services backed by our long-established relationship with Nigeria’s compliance, enforcement, regulatory agencies and the world Customs organization”
Mr. Ibeke said the correct tariff classification of goods is a key component of customs compliance in trade practices as accurate harmonized tariff codes are part of advanced data requirements and a key focus for Customs authorities when conducting full or targeted compliance audits.
“We therefore work with organizations to analyze the functions, form and composition of your products and use appropriate tools and tariff classification procedures to determine the proper tariff classification procedure to determine the proper tariff classification for your imports”
“International Trade Advisory Services Ltd is established to assist corporate organizations, groups and individuals with their import/export processes by offering clarity and simplifying the import procedures for our clients in order to avoid errors which often lead to delays, fines and avoidable loses and pains”.
“For instance, many importers do not know that you can voluntarily disclose non-compliance, once noticed to customs, make the necessary correction and pay any outstanding duties and taxes with interest. However, once customs discovers the error or initiates an audit with you, voluntary disclosure is no longer an option” Ibeke said.
He listed other areas where ITAS offers its core professional services to include:
Value Determination, Jurisdiction Determination, Export Assistance, Processing of Waivers, Concessions, Import Duty Exemptions, Import Duty Exemption Certificate, IDEC, Post Clearance Audit/Audit Assistance, Compliance Assessment, Appeals, Process and Internal Control Designs, Duty Recovery and Duty Drawback, Rules of origin
“We have built a well-oiled machine for managing all of the players involved in customs clearance, trade facilitation and trade compliance-from logistics suppliers to Customs brokers to government agencies-so goods flow seamlessly across the border and across the globe”
“There is no room for error in the customs and compliance arena. That is why ITAS has created values that are based on efficiency to help our clients avoid bottlenecks, compliance hurdles and other legal ramifications stemming from unintended trade infractions” the ITAS chief said.
Responding to questions bothering on the proposed customs modernization proposal mired in controversy, Mr. Ibeke was emphatic that the idea is illogical as customs has fully automated its operations in its commands, bought and installed scanners in sea ports and wondered what any consultant was going to do that officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, who have been well trained on customs operations could not do.
The ITAS boss also described the traditional annual revenue target set for the Nigeria Customs Service by the federal government annually as an aberration, retrogressive and peculiar only to Nigeria.
Mr. Okey Ibeke was emphatic that the age-long revenue target which the NCS has come to accept as its performance index is alien to advanced countries of the world.
According to Mr. Ibeke, “There is no country that gives its Customs Service revenue target to meet anywhere in the world. In all my years of numerous interactions and dealings with the World Trade Organization, WTO, World Customs Organization, WCO, I have not heard of any country giving its Customs revenue target to meet as a yard stick to access its performance. Find out; if you discover any country setting revenue target for its Customs let me know”, the ITAS Chief declared.
He expressed the view that depending on customs duty collection for national development is retrogressive as industrialization is relegated to the back seat while importation takes the steering wheel of any country that adopts such archaic approach for it national sustenance.
“Developing this country is a collective responsibility. ITAS is incorporated to offer solutions, solve problems and save time/operational cost for organizations thereby expanding their market share, increasing their profit margin and enable such entities employ more Nigerians” Ibeke stated.