Customs issues new guidelines on transition to PAAR ….says Service Providers abandoned over 99,000 unfinished RAR

The Nigeria Customs Service yesterday issued new guidelines on transition to the Pre – Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).

These guidelines according to the Customs Comptroller General, Dikko Inde Abdulahi is to address one of the envisaged hitches caused by the taking over of Destination Inspection Scheme from the Service providers concerning the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) which has already been issued by the providers before the take off of the new clearance system.

Speaking yesterday at a stakeholders meeting held at the Conference room of the Apapa Area Command, Abdulahi disclosed that a total of 99, 300 unfinished Risk Assessment Report (RAR) were handed over to the Service.

He said as a result of these backlog, the PAAR document is not been issued as anticipated.

“Over 99,000 transactions on cut over were handed over to Customs. We are suppose to take charge of these 99,000 as well as take care of fresh transactions and the process of handling these 99,000 that some of them had their RAR, some were just on form ‘M’ level and to do this effectively well, we realize the 99,000 unfinished transactions will clog the system and slow us down. We are aware that the first PAAR was generated within 58 minutes of upload. We find out that because of these 99,000 plus, PAAR is not coming out at the speed we have anticipated. That is reason why we are here today” he said.

Represented by the Assistant Comptroller General,(ACG) Headquarters Tahir Musa, Abdulahi said that the hitches are just temporary even as he assured that the unprocessed RAR will be immediately addressed without necessary causing congestion at the ports.

“These hitches are just temporary and that is what we are here to address. This issue arises from the backlog of the work of the service providers and not from PAAR. Now that we have taken over, the most important thing now is how to sustain it and the sustenance of this huge battle that has been won lies in both officers and stakeholders’ hand”, he said.

He added “With every transition, there will be challenges and this is no exception. We have operated for the past one week and we have observed a few hitches and that is why the CG has directed like he promised that from time to time officers will be coming from the headquarters to talk to you” he assured.

According to the guidelines, goods that have arrived on or before 30th November, 2013 with approved e- Form M’ and processed final documents but not issued the RAR are directed to apply to the Customs Area Controller for provisional release upon payment of duty and other necessary clearing process.

In a circular dated 11th December, signed by the Comptroller General of Customs and address to all Deputy Comptroller Generals, Assistant Comptroller Generals, Area Controllers and all Unit heads, a copy of which was obtained by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, importers who have already processed their documents and whose RARS are pending in the banks and could not be transmitted to NICIS platform as at 3oth November, 2013 by the Service providers are directed to access their RARS from the authorized dealer banks and commence processing of their goods.

According to the guidelines, all other imports guidelines and clearance procedure remain extant.

These directives takes immediate effect and to end 31st January 2014.

Dikko charged the officers especially Terminal heads, Valuation and Customs Intelligent officers to ensure that they play their role effectively warning that appropriate sanction will be applied to any officers who go contrary to the provisions of the customs extant laws.

He reminded them that a total of 13 officers serving at the Tin Can Island Port command were recently dismissed for gross misconduct ranging from release of consignments without examination.