The Nigeria Customs Service have been urged to streamline its operations within and outside the ports in order to create room for free flow of trade in Nigeria
The Managing Director of International Supply Chain Systems, Forwarder. Afam Chukwuma made the call following proliferation of Customs Units and incessant interception of already cleared cargo from the port by men of various Customs Units .
Fwdr Chukwuma who is also the Assistant General Secretary of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders(NAGAFF) viewed their actions as not only a cog in the wheel of progress of trading activities. but also anti to the
federal government policy on Ease of Doing Business in the
He wondered why cargo already examined and cleared by customs officials , and exited through the Port gates would be intercepted and most time re-examined if not seized by either CGs Special Task Force, Strike Force, Customs Headquarter task Force, or Customs Police
”It makes no sense that Customs who have established multiple units, multiple checks, multiple areas in the port because before you start the process, you have your form ‘M’, you file in for PAAR from Abuja, they give you the Pre Arrival Assessment Report which is to say ok base on your documentation, we are advising you , go and pay. this rate and at the end of the day, you go back they release it, you have a DC Terminal who re-confirms that the release officer has done a good job and then the CIU gives you clearance, Compliance gives you clearance, Evaluation closes the alert or issues DN.
You now go to the almighty gate, the final bus stop, they check all your document whether you have followed the due process or you have jumped any protocol. At the end of the day, they say okay and you exit the port to your warehouse, somebody is now pursuing you along the road, Federal Operations Unit, Strike Force, CGC Task Force, Information unit headquarters and , Customs Police. Haba, Haba, this should not be.
.”The computer, ICT, whatever you call it is garbage in garbage out. It’s still what data entering feeds the system, that the system gives you, but then are we ready to make honest declaration? Even when we make honest declarations, are we ready to see officers who will see that they are honest and allow the cargo to go? Or such that use delay tactics to delay him. The say do this or you pay demurrage. When we have such people on both sides, there will be no need to have interference. So, that aspect of ICT will actually help if the humans behind the process are also honest to themselves,” he added.
He however appealed to importers and freight forwarders to always make an honest declaration that is reflective of the content of their container as well as correct classification and value for timely release of their cargo.
Photo: Fwdr. Afam Chukwuma, MD International Chain Systems