They can if they really want to with the level they have attained in Information Technology. It is doable. After all, foreign countries don’t rely on paper work and they all attended same training with the Nigeria Customs Service. But because of the corruption in the system, they can’t stop it. Most of the officers rely on under-the-table deals to augment their income.
The Nigeria Customs Service is yet to develop its IT to that extent where we will completely abolish manual documentation. There is still human contact at the ports and that is why there is still manual documentation. They (Customs) have tried to stop it but they have not been able to achieve it. For example, other agencies of government are expected to key in under the same platform with Customs to enable them make their own inputs on goods that have been examined but up till now, that system did not work because not all of them have keyed in. So that is why we still have the manual documentation. If anybody says they can do away with manual system, it’s certainly not possible. With time, they may get there, but not now.
Yes of course. It is not a new thing because it is obtainable all over the world, so ours should not be an exception. That is what we mean when we talk about seamless process of cargo clearance. What is left for us is implementation. If customs can implement it, that will be fine because it will mean you can do your business in the comfort of your bedroom. The only problem we are having is interface. If they can do away with human interface, which may be difficult because of corruption, then they can achieve it. For now, we can only be managing until we get to that level. We have not gotten to that level yet where we can say we have achieved full automation.
No they can’t achieve it. Till date, when you want to do examination of your consignment, the print out of your receipt and Single Goods Declaration (SGD) form will be submitted to the releasing officer or terminal head. If the head of the terminal does not append his signature and allocate that particular job to officers for examination, nobody can do anything about it. After the releasing, you cannot do anything with the exit gate officer, until you go back to the head of the terminal for him to stamp and scrutinize your documents on a job that has been released on the system and they will start referring you to valuation again. So what is the difference between automation and manual process? So I don’t think it is possible for customs to do away with manual cargo clearance. That is just the truth.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.