South East traders bemoan ordeal over PAAR

South East traders bemoan ordeal over PAAR

  • Demand return of service providers, Dimka’s removal

The South-East Amalgamated Market Traders Association (SEAMATA), importers and various stakeholders on Thursday in Enugu bemoaned what they described as the untold hardship and upsetting experience they go through in various ports and entry points in Nigeria.

In a communiqué after a meeting in Enugu, the traders regretted that the ugly experience has disrupted trading activities in the zone in recent time, adding that the situation if not addressed urgently, will negatively affect the nation’s economy.

“The situation has worsened in 2014 to the extent that most of our members have abandoned their goods at these ports. Those who are even ready to collect their goods cannot because they do not have the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to enable them clear their consignments,” they stated.

The communiqué signed by the President General of SEAMATA, Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo and the Secretary, Mr. Temple Ude, and presidents of the traders in the five states of the zone, as well as the Coordinator, South-East Traders, Chief Gozie Akudolu, blamed the development on the inability of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to issue PAAR to importers within 48 hours as claimed at takeover from destination inspection service providers.

“Presently, it takes over 60 days to issue the PAAR as against two to three days by the service providers. Our members have PAARS outstanding with their banks and Nigeria Customs Service since December 2013.”

The traders also said that they were worried that their goods might be declared overtime and auctioned, and that all the perishable items imported have been lost as a result of the delay.

They also accused officials of NCS in the eastern area, especially in Owerri of extorting money from unsuspecting importers after issuance of double duty payment by exaggerated debit notes. Consequently, they demanded the immediate re-deployment of the Controller of Customs Federal Operation Unit in Owerri, Victor Dimka.

SEAMATA also called on the Federal Government to urgently set up an independent committee to visit all the ports urgently for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation at the various ports for the purpose of de-congestion.

“The Federal Government should consider the reappointment of the destination inspection service providers that had perfected the acts of destination inspection and clearance of goods at our ports over the last eight years, as officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service who took over from them appear incapable of executing the job.

“We the undersigned on behalf of our members seek an urgent meeting with the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and the Hon Minister of Finance to deliberate on the above stated issues and more,” they requested.