Customs Warns Bonded Terminal Operators Against Smuggling, Duty Evasion

The Federal Operations Unit, Zone C, of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has read the riot act to bonded terminal operators over acts of duty evasion and smuggling.

Customs area controller, Compt. Mike Ugbagu, during a stakeholder meeting with bonded terminal operators warned that using bonded terminals to smuggle or evade duty is discouraged and would be frustrated by his unit.

According to him, the procedure of transiting goods from the Seaport to the bonded terminal is complete after the CAC has signed the transfer and the containers are escorted by the Customs Police or FOU operatives.

“The intention of the board of Customs to approve bonded warehouses is for ease of doing business and to decongest the ports. In the same vein, he maintained that the procedure of transiting goods from the mother port to the bonded terminal through the Customs Area Controller’s signed transire and escorted by the Customs Police or FOU as the case may have not changed.”

“Goods meant for the bonded terminals must be properly deposited at the bonded terminal. The goods can only be delivered to the owner after assessment, payment of duty, examination and release out of customs control before the goods will be delivered to the consignee.

“In line with this core mandate of ensuring strict compliance with the provisions of the law, he maintained that any attempt to use the current import and export guidelines by bonded terminals, as an avenue for smuggling or duty evasion will be discouraged and frustrated in all ramifications,” Customs public relations officer, FOU, Zone C, Jerry Attah,b quoted the Compt. in a statement.
Attah stated further that the Comptroller said that measures have been put in place to track and trace bonded terminals bound importations to minimise revenue loss.

Compt. Ugbagu while also addressing the Nigerian Shippers Council and some exporters that visited him at FOU, Zone C, Owerri also encouraged them to document their export

“According to the Comptroller, proper documentation of imports/exports creates Data. Data is used all over the world for economic planning and decisions. He maintained that no Country could plan well if they do not have proper and accurate data of what comes into your country or what goes out.

Loading trucks or boats with all manner of goods and trying to take it out of the country through an illegal route without documentation tantamount to smuggling,”

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