The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, has advised clearing agents to collaborate with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to fight corruption and reduce the delays associated with cargo clearance at the ports to facilitate trade.
Ali gave the advice when he visited the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) headquarters in Lagos on Monday.
He said that if the agents had a fruitful synergy with the NCS, it would put an end to all the challenges militating against their operations at the ports.
He assured the clearing agents that the service would organise a stakeholders’ meeting that would be attended by selected leaders of the associations to proffer solutions to problems affecting seamless cargo clearance at the ports.
“I am appealing to the clearing agents to support President Muhammadu Buhari in his agenda to stop corruption and I hope our meeting would bring positive results to our operations.
“I am also appealing to both the NCS officers and the clearing agents to always search their consciences and ensure they do the right things at all times,” Ali said.
He said that the service would look into the complaints of multiple check points.
Ali said that apart from delaying cargo movement, the check points had assisted the service to intercept 661 riffles and other seizures due to lack of proper examination at the ports.
According to him, if Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) is well documented, the system will not reject it.
He urged clearing agents to engage in honest declaration to avoid their documents being queried.
The C-G acknowledged the need for continuous enlightenment on Customs’ cargo processing to assist both operators in removing all the teething problems militating against 48-hour cargo clearance at the ports.
The National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, urged the management of NCS to assist the agents in solving challenges affecting cargo clearance at the ports.
Shittu said that the operations of clearing agents and the NCS were related, saying that trading zone operation, which is where they process documents for PAAR, was affecting cargo clearance.
Shittu pleaded with NCS to stop duplication of PAAR documentation, which he said has led to additional payments in clearing goods at the ports.
He advised the NCS boss to also stop multiple alerts by some officers at the examination units as well as locking of Customs pin numbers.
Shittu said that the NCS should sanction dishonest shippers found to be engaging in false declaration and not agents who assisted in clearing cargoes.
He suggested that the service should look forward to a new system of cargo clearance to stop extortions by both parties.
“ANLCA Nigeria is the regional headquarters of International Customs Brokers and it keeps abreast of information on cargo clearance around the world.
“I will like the NCS management and some members of our association to visit Ghana to observe how their Customs operate while clearing vehicles at the ports.
“Ghana’s revenue on vehicles received a 60 per cent boost in a year of operating seamless method of clearing vehicles from their ports,” he said.
Shittu, however, said the association would support the NCS in fighting against corruption and facilitate trade at the nation’s ports.