News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Customs shift blame over sub-standard tyres clearance

Customs boss Hameed Ali

By Suzzy Tolofari

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday said products standards control is the responsibility of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), not the NCS.

The Acting Public Relations Officer, NCS, Mr Joseph Attah, made the clarification while reacting to the recent seizure of substandard tyres by SON in Lagos.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the function of customs was to collect duty and ensure that contraband did not enter the country.

Two Chinese men were caught for allegedly importing the substandard tyres worth over N5 billion in Lagos.

He said the organisation’s duty was not to determine quality but only to collect duty.

According to him, once an importer gets a clearance document, certifying an item okay by SON, customs would only collect duty and release such item.

“People who sometime ask question, need to know the function of customs and the function of other regulatory agencies. Before our men clear an item, a personnel of SON will be present to certify it okay.

“If the personnel out of negligence or did not carry out his duty properly and signed that the item is okay and cleared it, customs will collect duty and release such item because of SON clearance document.

“The issue of standard is in the hands of SON, customs only to collects duty so far that is not contraband.

“We are not in a position to determine quality, the job of determining quality is in the hand of SON and if it is a food item, the job of determining whether it is fit for human consumption is NAFDAC.

“So in this kind of situation, it is only when you trance the clearing document, you will know whether a personnel of SON is involved or not.

“There is no way customs will release containers of such tyres without a clearance certificate by the SON,’’ Attah said.

He said that during every examination of an item, if any importer got a clearance document signed by SON certifying such item okay and attached it to that of customs document, such item would be released after duty payment.

Attah cited an instance that if Garri was not prohibited and NAFDAC official signed an examination paper certifying it okay, once customs officials got evidence that NAFDAC had cleared it, duty would be collected and the wares released.

It was recalled that SON arrested two Chinese nationals, who were said to have imported substandard tyres.