From UCHE USIM, Abuja
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has expressed its readiness to take over the Destination Inspection, concessioned to service providers in the private sector, in the months ahead. Destination Inspection (DI) is a process whereby goods and import declarations are inspected on arrival in the importing country.
Alhaji Garba Makarfi, Deputy Comptroller General of Customs (DCG), disclosed this while receiving members of Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) on a courtesy visit to the Customs Headquarters in Abuja. According to him, the NCS also intends to work hard to ensure cargoes are cleared within 48 hours. He said that this could be achieved if importers buy into the system and are sincere with their declarations. “We are computerizing our system apart from ASYCUDA, we have the trade hub, we have the pre-Arrival Assessment while we have the ruling center. We have the ICT all the connectivity where we connect to all the agencies.
We are online as you are aware, you don’t need to serve any customs officers now before you clear your goods. You are the image-makers, we want you to sell us out, sell us to the public that customs has come of age and that is what we have. “Without you no matter what, if we continue beating our drums, it maynot shout but you’re single ten naira pen can sell us to million dollars. “I hope the relationship with the Nigerian Custom Service and MARAN will continue, you are a great hope for the service and I hope it will continue,” Makarfi said. Also speaking at the visit, Yusuf Bashar, Deputy Comptroller, Operation, said that Nigeria Customs Service would ensure conclusion of all customs clearing procedures in six hours, as soon as the Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) is implemented.
“The essence of PAAR is that it eliminates waiting for any document by the importers when his/her cargo arrives. “As we are speaking today, PAAR is ready but June is the policy statement for PAAR to replace RAR when the inspection would be handed over to the customs,” Bashar. Bashar said that in preparation for the implementation of the PAAR, it had stated training all government agencies having business to do at the ports and issuing the agencies a master user’s status. The Deputy Comptroller also assured that the training would also be extended to other stakeholders in the maritime industry.
He said that in order to prevent hacking into the system, the service had sent its officers to Canada, USA and UK to learn cyber crime, adding that the officers had just returned to the country. He said that customs has trained over 120 young graduates who have taken over the ICT department to process the trade portal hub, adding that each officer would work for six hours in a day.