The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said it was working towards upgrading its single window platform known as the Nigeria Customs Information System (NICIS) as part of effort to address alleged illegal use of licenses of customs agents by unauthorised persons.
Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’ of the NCS, Assistant Comptroller General of Customs (ACG) Charles Edike stated this yesterday when he visited the National Secretariat of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in Amuwo Odofin, Lagos.
The agents had accused Customs of not providing opportunity for them to defend themselves when cases of untrue declaration are linked to their licenses before they are blocked.
According to them, most of the untrue declarations are not done by genuine customs agents but by touts who gain access to their password through the Direct Trade Input (DTI) cafes.
Edike however told the agents to always protect their password noting that when the NICIS platform which is powered by Web Fointaine is upgraded, such challenges would be addressed.
Subsequently, he asked that agents who claimed their licenses had been unduly blocked to report to the zonal headquarters where such cases would be investigated.
He said one of the reasons why he visited ANLCA was to listen to their challenges, noting that when challenges are addressed, it will improve Customs revenue collection.
He said, “In a short while all of the challenges of blockage of licenses of agents will be a thing of the past because the Service is working towards that.
“What I came to do basically is to let them know that we need more money and if I do not bridge the gap between those collecting the money and my officers, there will still be some gaps.
“So I have come to encourage them more, hear their challenges and their problems. I am sure when these problems are solved and we are on the same page there will be more money for government,”
Also speaking, Controller in charge of ICT at the Zonal headquarters, Yusuf Musa Baba stated that under the new platform, the DTI cafes would be phased out with each customs agent having a password, which will be linked to his license.
“By April, the NICIS 2 will be in function and at that level all this password issues will be addressed. Web fountain will be contacted to put some of this platform in order so that all this password issues will be resolved.
“Tentatively, the customs management will phase out DTI cafes in March and by then the difficulties that people are having now where others are using their license will be curbed because each person will be pass-worded with their license and they are entitled to change this password at anytime of their choice and that will reduce the tendency of some selling the password number of their boss for which their licenses are being blocked,” he said.
In his response, ANLCA President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu while thanking Edike for the visit advised Customs to always deal with only licensed agents in their operation to minimize cases of false declaration.
He noted that officers and other security agencies aid proliferation of persons at the port. He appealed to the Customs boss to facilitate the training of ANLCA members to make them more knowledgeable in Customs procedures.
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