The Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Form M, single goods declaration, are some of the many documents required as part of trade and import formalities.
For traders, customs procedures can be a headache. They need to supply a number of documents and fill in several forms, sometimes repeating information—which had better be consistent across the board.
For Customs, that means a range of documents to process, verify and cross-match, sometimes manually. A highly time-consuming task, which can result in errors and loss of revenue.
We all know that remaining competitive as an international trade partner is a major priority. And tackling customs processes is one way to get there. That’s what Nigeria did.
With over 545,000 single goods declarations in 2017, Nigeria is a key player on the trade scene. So how do we stay ahead of the game?
We innovate, of course.
Meet the new Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System, or NICIS II for short. Simply put, it is a new system that automates business and customs processes involving all governmental and business stakeholders.
Interconnected with various hardware and software modules, NICIS II unites the trading community on a single modern, user-friendly platform. State-of-the-art technology at your service. It is easier, faster and safer.
For instance, gone is the time when importers had to duplicate information across PAAR, Form M and declaration. With NICIS II, all the elements that have already been supplied are automatically populated to other documents. Credentials are cross-checked for consistency and traceability, reducing errors and fraud. Everything is digitised, meaning no more heavy paperwork.
And the results are there. The first few weeks of operation have seen clearance time divided by up to three, and a two-figure growth in Customs revenue. This is na win-win situation.
To implement this new system, Nigeria Customs Service worked together with technology provider Webb Fontaine. So far, they have implemented NICIS II at Kirikiri Light Terminal (KLT), Ports & Terminal Multi-services LTD (PTML), Tin Can Island Port, Apapa Port, Lillypond Port, Kaduna, Katsina, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos. More deployments will follow over the year. The outlook for Nigerian trade now looks promising.
Ismail Aniemu Lagos.