As part of effort aimed at appraising its operational performance and addressing challenges arising from the issuance of PAAR, the Tin Can Island port command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Wednesday met with stakeholders’ operating at the command.
The meeting which was chaired by the Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Zakari Jubril had representatives of the various freight forwarding associations and senior officers in attendant.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting which held behind closed doors, a representative of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Chuks Kanikwu said a major concern raised at the meeting was the issue of ‘outrageous value’ often issued by the Nigeria Customs Service PAAR ruling center.
He said the PAAR office at the customs headquarters gives high value which according to him is not within range of what is obtainable in the past adding that value issued by PAAR is an opinionated figure on paper because the officers do not see the items on which values are issued for.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY recalls that image maker of the command, Chris Osunkwo, had acknowledged that sometimes the PAAR ruling center issues higher value than the acceptable value range of an item because they only work with documents presented.
He said that the command’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee set up by the customs management to oversee complaints arising from PAAR had been working tirelessly in amending the affected PAAR documents.
While calling for the extension of the committee which has served for three months since it was constituted and appears to have addressed most of the complaints relating to PAAR, Kanikwu said the agents have therefore recommended that the valuation unit of the command be allowed to ascribe value and conduct physical examination on goods with cases with high value generated by PAAR.
He said “The PAAR being issued now is not within the range of what we have been seeing in the past because most of us here have put 25 years or more in this industry and we are still clearing most of the items we used to clear then but the value given now is more than five times what is being given then. We suggested that since PAAR is an advisory document and for them to be able to get it right and build up an empherical data base, they should rely on examination when people complain. They have valuation officers capable enough to ascribe values with which they will be returning to the PAAR officers so that within time frame they will be able to form and get an empherical database that will make the job seamless”,
He also identifies the challenge of traffic situation on the port access road which he said is not only affecting officers but also agents as well as other port users.
He said the man hour lost transiting to the port robs off on the quality of work to be done by officers and the agents.
He said “A lot of our containers are falling on the roads and our men are sustaining one form of sickness or the other and a lot of them are developing hypertension and diseases that are associated with staying too long on the road”
The customs boss was quoted by Osunkwo as saying that he would relates their demands as regards the extension of the committee to the headquarters for further directives.