Customs to seal alcoholic beverage firms owing government

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) warned on Tuesday that it would begin sealing alcoholic beverage firms found operating without paying government revenue and bonds.

The agency’s Zone ‘A’ Coordinator, Assistant Comptroller-General, Eporwei Edike gave the warning during his visit to some companies producing alcohol in Ikorodu area of Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Customs Zonal Coordinator visited several alcoholic beverage firms in Ikorodu – Lagoon Distilleries Ltd., Bang Amos Company, Campe Integrated Foods and Beverages Ltd.

Edike directed the management of Lagoon Distilleries Ltd. not to operate “until it meets Customs Service and National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) requirements”.

He said that failure to comply with his directive would lead to a seal-up of the company.

“All what you need is to complete the documentation processes so that the company will be legally protected.

“If I find out that this company is operating without complete documents, you will be in serious trouble,” the Customs boss said.

He also urged Bang Amos & Co Ltd., to pay the debt it owed and instructed the company not to produce illegally.

Edike said that the service could only render support if a company had complete documents, having been certified by other regulatory agencies.

The Managing Director, Lagoon Distilleries Ltd., Mr Edwin Okafor, pleaded with the Customs boss to allow his company to operate within two months before paying the debts.

“I just took over this company from someone and I am just trying to put things in proper shape. I will also be losing my customers if I do not start on time,” Okafor said.

The Operations Manager, Bang Amos & Co. Ltd., Alhaji Sikiru Lawal, said that his company had stopped production since 2015 due to non-availability of ethanol.

Lawal told NAN that the company had been facing a lot of challenges with banks due to increase in exchange rate.

“The equipment we shipped into the country entered demurrage as a result of bank delay in granting loan for the company to clear the machines from the port.

“We intend to include table water with the Ogidiga drink we are producing. As soon as we get another loan we are seeking for from the bank, we will pay up our outstanding,” he said.

The Manager, Campe Integrated Foods and Beverages Ltd, Mr Hardeep Sharma, said that the company had stopped production since March.

He attributed the delay in paying the Customs bond to economic situation, adding that he would send one of his staff to pay the outstanding debts by Wednesday.

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