PAAR implementation delaying cargo clearance, says LCCI

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has again expressed concern over the long delays in the release of cargo at the Lagos Ports following the introduction of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).

President of the LCCI, Remi Bello, said the new arrangement managed by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is fraught with challenges. The PAAR, which was originally programmed to be issued within six hours now takes weeks. He lamented that under the new dispensation, its issuance is necessary for other cargo clearance procedures.

Bello said the delay in processing the document had dire consequences for importers and manufacturers in areas such as the high interest charges on funds used to finance the imports and the delay experienced in the delivery of raw materials to various factories which disrupts production time lines.

Other associated problems are the inability to meet contractual time lines by logistics providers and the high premium charges by shipping lines on Nigeria-bound vessels because of expectations of delay in the discharge of cargo.

The LCCI chief regretted that the situation has become increasingly unbearable for importers with its attendant negative outcomes for the economy.

He stressed the need to address capacity issues by the NCS in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Finance.

As a stop-gap measure, he called for the restoration of pre-release of cargo pending the resolution of the transitional problems.