99,000 abandoned RAR: Customs warns importers against default

The Apapa Area command of the Nigeria Customs service has warned that it will not take kindly to importers who default in the provisional release window created by the service to clear the 99,000 unprocessed Risk Assessment Reports (RAR).

The service had following the takeover of the Destination Inspection regime from the service providers, inherited well over 99,000 RAR, which could not be found on the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) issued by Customs, which replaced the RAR issued by service providers as an advisory document.

Comptroller Charles Edike, Customs Area Controller in charge of Apapa Area Command, who addressed stakeholders at a forum yesterday, hinted that the service has created a revenue recovery seat, designed to recover the true value of all the consignments affected by the unprocessed RAR.

He noted that the decision of the service to ask the affected importers to undertake a provisional release of their consignments based on the current value on the RAR and invoice was informed by the need not to heat up the system by creating backlog of consignments.

“We have a heap of unprocessed RAR and the revenue seat is headed by a Deputy Comptroller and as soon as the reconciliations were made, we will come after you because we have realized that it is not easy to release money especially after a transaction has been concluded,” he warned.
Edike also said: “We will first of all write you and if within a reasonable time you fail to respond, we will send our officers to come and visit you and am sure your neighbors will hear about the visit and you may not like that so come now and pay up.”

The Apapa CAC also pleaded with the stakeholders, especially the importers and clearing agents to be patient with Webb Fontaine over the worsening down time occasioned by the repeated breakdown of the server.

He disclosed that the breakdown was basically due to damage on an optic fiber cable of the telecommunication service provider, which will soon be a thing of the past.

Meanwhile, Chief Chukwumalu Emeka of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who spoke at the event, commended the CAC for his proactive attitude to resolving problems in the industry.

He however asked the CAC to call operatives of the Federal Operations Unit FOU, Zone ‘A’ who are in the habit of arresting and subjecting already cleared containers to another round of examination, which he argued was against the facilitation of trade. .

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