Customs slams Amiwero on PAAR comments

Says when town predators looking for cheap meals are out to destroy the unique innovations of geniuses by resulting to blackmail and petty arguments emanating from poor and bankrupt ideas, such ill and defective expositions must not go encountered.



The attention of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has been drawn to the publication by Mr. Lucky Amiwero on the issuance of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) by the NCS.

Ordinarily, such sweeping and wild speculations should not have been a thing of worry since we are on course but for the spurious expositions that borders on misinformation and distortions in order to gain attention and cheap popularity.

For the avoidance of doubt, the PAAR regime which commenced on the 1st December, 2013, has its dynamics rooted in clear and honest declaration in order to fast track the desired outcome of trade facilitation.

Mr. Amiwero itemized his grievances against Nigeria Customs Service as follows: Non-issuance of PAAR before arrival of goods, delays in issuance of PAAR, non-clearance of goods without PAAR, diversion of goods to neighbouring West African Ports, non-transmission of PAAR to Customs Server, lifting of value than necessary, no resolution mechanism and scanning problems.

From objective point of view each grievance as itemized above will be discussed to enlighten the Stakeholders and the general Public on the distortions and misinformation as exhibited by Mr. Lucky Amiwero.

The issuance of PAAR is predicted on the submission of all import documents to the Banks and the subsequent upload of same to Customs.

Majority of the importers will refuse submitting relevant import documents to their Banks until the arrival of their goods a period which they used in manipulating their import documents, thereby negating the spirit of the PAAR.

The delays being experienced currently in the issuance of PAAR has to do with fraudulent and dishonest declarations – a theatre of the old order.

Currently and on a daily basis, imports with fraudulent declarations are a reoccurring decimal.  These declarations are so ridiculous and callous that no sane officer will contemplate issuing PAAR without resolving and amending the doctored documents.  The NCS cannot accept hook-line and sinker manipulated values, wrong HS Code, concealments, wrong declarations all in a bid to fast track trade facilitation.  In fact, were it not for the magnanimity of the leadership of the NCS, such declarations should be outright seizures.

Few examples of such fraudulent declarations are presented below:  26x20ft containers of Tiles from China was declared to have total of 4sqm, total FOB of $8.136.10 and Freight of $39,000.00; 1x20ft container of Auto Spare Parts (New) total FOB $340.00 and freight $1,200.00 from China; 1x20ft container of Steel Doors and WC set Ceramic – total FOB $412.80, freight – $2,000.00.

These examples are infinite.  They constitute 90-95% of daily declarations submitted to Customs for issuance of PAAR.

When the PAAR regime took off in December 2013, the government was mindful of those transactions that were concluded with RAR regime but still have their goods in the ports by granting importers provisional release.

This gesture was taken for granted as importers no longer submit their final import documents to the Banks with the hope that the provisional release granted them will continue with subsequent extensions.

When finally the government terminated the provisional release era, the importers in their thousands rushed to the Banks to process their final documents.  Delays and congestions were recorded in the process.

The issue of the diversion of ships and cargo to neighbouring West African Countries as alleged by Mr. Amiwero, has no Customs Control.  Customs do not control the allocation and direction of Ships and Cargo to Nigeria or neighbouring West African Countries.

On the issue of non transmission of PAAR to Customs Server by banks, it should be noted that Web fontaine handles and manages transmission and not Customs.

For the lifting of value more than necessary; customs do not lift value, but appraise value for those imports whose values are not within valuation approved range.  If the importers can imbibe the culture of absolute honesty in their documentations and transaction, the issue of appraising value will not have arisen, since they are aware of value range for every item of importation.

It is not true to say that the PAAR regime has no resolution mechanism.  We have the help desks at the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters and in all ports for quick resolution of contentious issues.

For Scanning, Mr. Amiwero could not identify any issue except that he said it is laden with problems.  Such unsubstantiated allegations amounts to misinformation and extreme callousness.

As an all time paid agent of misinformation, it is pertinent for Mr. Lucky Amiwero, to note that being outspoken is not the sum total of wisdom.  What matters is the quality and credibility of what one says.

Innovations like the introduction of PAAR a concerted effort of the NCS may have its initial hiccups for there is no perfect system ever created by man except that of the supreme creator of the universe.

Our system is enduring and on a sound course.  Distractions from economic passengers on transit cannot and would not shake us an inch from our continuous dedication to the course for which we are paid to serve.

So, when town predators looking for cheap meals are out to destroy the unique innovations of geniuses by resulting to blackmail and petty arguments emanating from poor and bankrupt ideas, such ill and defective expositions must not go uncountered.



Deputy Comptroller Bello Abdulkareem Assad

Customs Headquarters, Abuja.

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