Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in his office, Customs Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Apapa Area 1 Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Chief Superintendent Emmanuel Ekpa, posited that the backlog of containers at the scanning site may impact negatively on the import supply chain, and, by extension, increase the prices of goods to consumers, if not quickly addressed.
While noting that scanning is faster and time-saving than physical examination, Ekpa stated that the situation is hindering the Federal Government 48 hours cargo clearance policy.
“The situation has slowed down importation and business, because it is when the agents take delivery of their goods, sell it and then go back to import, but, if the ones they have has not been released, certainly they might not be able to import more,” the CPRO said.
He explained that the re-routing of containers, initially triggered for scanning, to physical examination may also not allow for 100 per cent examination to be conducted, which, according to him, put the examining officer at risk of losing his job when discrepancies are noted.
“That is the risk officers are taking. You will do examination, and, at the end of the day when there is problem with the container, they will ask who did the examination and you might go in for it. That is the problem we are having,” Ekpa said.
He noted that, although duties are been paid before customs documents are processed, the situation has delayed issuing of debit notes to importers whose containers have been discovered to have under- declared items.
The CPRO averred that time to clear the backlog of containers at the scanning site may also lead to traffic logjam at Apapa, as, according to him, truck drivers have been on queue since last week to load containers.
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