The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it is currently generating between 1,500 and 1,800 Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) applications daily.
This is a marked improvement from the 800 applications it generated in February.
One of the officers at the PAAR ruling center at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja, an Assistant Controller of Customs, who does not want his name in print, attributed the increase to the upgrading of the PAAR system to a new application hosted by Webb Fontaine.
He told SHIPS& PORTS DAILY that the NCS is at present targeting 2000 applications daily as the upgrade has made uploading of documents and transmission of approved PAAR back to the bank faster adding that the banks now perform some of the documentary checks which were hitherto done by officers.
“With this new platform, the banks now do some of the things we used to do formerly, like capturing of data. The shipping company data for instance now is uploaded into the system automatically. So you don’t have to worry about whether you get the right container or bill of lading number or the right consignee name. Automatically, the data will come in. Those things use to take time formerly but now from the bank level, they are supposed to upload the data. So that once the number shows on our system that they are seeing it, all that information comes with it. It makes it faster,” he said.
He added that the Customs management has equally increased the numbers of officers currently working at the PAAR center.
“We’ve increase the numbers of officers working and when you do something over and over again, you learn to do it better and faster. The average outputs of the officers are getting better,” he further stated.
He however noted that false declaration of importers is a major challenge causing delay in the issuance of PAAR.
The officer stated: “The biggest challenge we have is with the importers. They lie too much and it is not helping this system. They submit their documents but all the information are false. That is the biggest problem. The PAAR will eventually come out but with adjustment and you know that will take longer. If you declare honestly, five minute you made your decision and approved but when there is discrepancy, you will have to cross check again and something that will take you five minutes, will now take you 30 minutes.“If you have to process like 400 PAAR applications or say 600 applications in a shift, those 30 minutes will be affecting it and there are some imports that have 300 line items, you cannot just do that in 5 minutes, it is not possible. You have to look at each item one by one and see that the classification, the value is okay, then you approve. So if in a shift, you have 20 percent of those kind of applications, your output will be poor, it is not magic,” he said.