Apparently determined to ensure success of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) regime, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), as part of effort to clear the backlogs of consignments with unprocessed PAARs, has introduced a special offer for agents operating at the Apapa Area command to tackle this delay.
This is coming even as importers and agents have continued to lament the adverse effect of the PAAR regime on the clearance of goods at the port.
At a meeting with the representatives of the various freight forwarding associations including the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) last Thursday, Controller of the command, Comptroller Charles Edike announced that the Customs Comptroller General, Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi, has approved a special arrangement by which importers whose goods are trapped will get reprieve.
Edike said any importer whose goods have not been cleared since the introduction of the PAAR clearing system in December 2013 up to March 15, 2014 should approach his office “and we will immediately arrange for physical examination of the goods and release promptly based on the orders of the CGC.”
Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY shortly after the meeting with the agents, ASYCUDA project manager of the command, Yusuf Malanta, said the provision by the customs high command is strictly for importers who have difficulties generating their PAARs document.
While explaining that the new arrangement should not be mistaken for provisional release, Malanta said the affected agents are required to apply to the Customs Area Controller with evidence of all import documents from the bank after which examination will be conducted on the consignment.
“This arrangement is for those PAARs that have error, maybe error in transmission, or error in classification due to some teething problems. All these kind of issues is what we discussed and we have designed a way to solve the problem domestically here in Apapa.
“This has nothing to do with provisional release; the agents have to come with all their documents such as evidence of transmission and evidence of final documentation from the bank. The bank will now send to the CAC who will now delegate some officers to examine the cargo to know what the content of that cargo is. With the content of the cargo, a verdict will be reached on what is supposed to be the value and classification and that is why it encompasses valuation, CIU and terminal officers.
“After examination, we will come up with the result and we will release the cargo and send our verdict back to headquarters and they will close up the PAAR there,” he said.
He said only importers who are honest in their customs declaration will benefit from the provision.