Agents drag Customs to Presidency over poor implementation of PAAR
- Allege diversion of cargo over delays caused at port
Clearing agents under the auspices of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) have sent a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan over what they called “challenges associated with the issuance of the Pre-Assessment Arrival Report (PAAR) by the Nigeria Customs Service.”
The Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweal; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and Ag. Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Sarah Alade, were all copied in the five-page petition signed by the President of NCMDLCA, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, and dated 17th March, 2014.
“The Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) is supposed to be issued before the arrival of the goods, as against the weeks and months that it was issued after the arrival of the goods at the port, which negates the objective of the establishment of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) regime and drastically slow (sic) down the activities of clearance that necessitates the build ups and tension at the ports,” Amiwero stated in his petition to President Jonathan.
He said the process of the issuance of PAAR has become associated with delays that resulted to the payment of huge demurrage to shipping companies and rent to terminal operators by importer and agents. He said it takes between 20 and 48 days before Customs is able to generate PAAR on a consignment.
“The economic impact is high cost of clearance and delays, which will eventually lead to possible closure of most factories due to inability to access the available stocks from the Ports.
“Most goods that are in the port has (sic) no Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to clear them, which is accumulating huge demurrage and rent and no respite in site (sic) from government making importers look for alternative through diversion of cargoes to neighbouring West African ports to reduce delay and cost, which is detrimental to the economy.
“In a bid to reduce the time by Nigeria Customs in the issuance of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), most Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) issued could not be transmitted into Customs server, which stalls procedure for normal clearance process thereby constituting delays that attract demurrage and rent.
“Some Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) is lifted higher than necessary, which delays the process of clearance that resulted to payment of demurrage and rents.
“Most Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) that was issued is with a lot of discrepancy without resolution mechanisms put in place to address the deficiency, especially with the centralisation of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) process in Abuja.
“The Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) issued against the pre-release goods are (sic) now generating tension as most of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) have a lot of discrepancy,” he stated in the letter.
Amiwero also said that scanning process at the various ports were “facing some challenges, which are difficulties to meet up with the objectives that it was set up as facilitating tool.”
While calling on the federal government to set up a team to monitor the operation of scanning machines at the port by Customs, it advocated the creation of a monitoring and evaluation committee “made of experts in trade procedures to evaluate the process and resolve the implementation difficulties that are creating confusion and delays in the ports.”