False declaration bane of 48-hour cargo clearance

Controller, Apapa Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Willy Egbudin has said that dishonest declaration by clearing agents has been the bane of achieving 48-hour cargo clearance in the port.

Egbudin who was speaking when he received members of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in his office on Tuesday lamented that despite repeated admonitions, some agents do not see the need to comply with trade regulations and make genuine declarations.

“We still have discrepancies in declaration. Most agents are still not transparent in their declarations. If they make honest declaration, it will make clearance of their cargo fast, save them from incurring demurrage and help Customs to facilitate 48-hour cargo clearance policy of the government. We will achieve 48 hours if honest declaration is done by the trade community,” he said.

Speaking on the command’s revenue performance, the Controller said despite the low cargo traffic in the port at the beginning of the year, the command still made impressive performance in its revenue generation as it generated sum of N24 billion in January 2016.

He said, “We are not doing badly in revenue generation although there is low volume of import.”

He assured that more revenue would be generated by the command as import trade in the country improves, charging importers to desist from importing prohibited items.

Responding to questions on why Customs officers still query the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), a document issued by the NCS, Egbudin said importers are not being truthful with the information they provide in the PAAR as this contradicts the final documents submitted to Customs.

He said PAAR was designed by the Service to help trade facilitation even as he called on the media to educate members of the trade community to adhere to import guidelines at all times.

On the state of scanners at the port, Egbudin confirmed that only the fixed scanner was working while the mobile scanner had packed up adding that even the fixed scanner has remained underutilized because of low cargo traffic.

He however assured that the Comptroller General of Customs had commenced the process of procuring more efficient scanners.

Egbudin also dismissed allegations that the various commands issued different tariff on vehicles. He advised intending vehicle importers to always visit Customs valuation unit to get correct duty before embarking on importation, as this will allay any fear of being cheated and make clearance fast.

Speaking on the asset declaration, Egbudin said all officers in his command had fully complied with the directive of the Comptroller General. Such exercise, he said, was not new. 

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