Controller, Apapa Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Charles Edike has explained the rationale behind the recent decision by the Customs management to deploy some officers from the Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) ruling canter to the seaports.
Speaking yesterday at a stakeholders meeting organised by the command, Edike said the Customs Comptroller-General did not introduce any taskforce at the port but the officers who are of the rank of ASC 1 and 2 were sent to the port to partake in examination of cargoes and document their findings.
Edike had spoken in response to the angst expressed by some clearing agents operating at the command over the deployment of the junior officers to the ports.
The agents said the deployment was not relevant and according to them, it is hindering trade facilitation.
“If the officers are of the senior rank and they are coming to checkmate fellow senior officers, we would have said it is ok. But how can you ask a junior officer to come and checkmate an Assistant Controller? It is not welcome. There are other ways the CGC can employ if he wants his eyes in the port, the CIU officers are there and they are to monitor what is happening in the port.
“It is as if the CG no longer has trust in the officers at the port but we are not in support of it because it is delaying trade,” one of the agents, Anthony Oyin said.
Edike explained that the officers having being trained in theoretical aspects can only issue PAAR when there are disagreements over value.
“No taskforce has been sent to the port. They are to do examination and input what they see in the container in the system. They have nothing to do with releasing of containers. The training is to further equip them to be better officers so that dispute and argument between traders and the service will be minimized and that no officer gives you arbitrary value.
“Sending them to the port is in the national interest, it is for public good. These officers don’t have the practical experience and so they may issue arbitrarily. What the CG wants to do is to correct that to make them balance in terms of practical and paper work,” he said
Edike said the development was also necessitated due to the involvement of some unauthorised officers in cargo examinations under the guise of headquarters unit.
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