A part of the basic operations of the Nigeria Customs Service, which is collection of revenue, is highly guided by the parameters of defined classification and valuation.
Over time, some members of the trading public have expressed dissatisfaction over the valuation given for their imported cargoes, and almost always leaving out the other part that makes the whole; classification.
In line with this thought, it is essential to fix in the bits that count in the processes that are involved in international trade, with an understanding that globalisation now plays a vital role that can no longer be ignored. However also, the unique distinctive contributions of the local environment remain important.
As a continuum in the economic chain, the customs service does not end its assignment in collection of revenue for government, but ensures that the revenue is protected. This is notably done by fighting against all forms of smuggling. If and when the act of smuggling is not thoroughly checked, it ends up as a drainer to the revenue that should have accrued to government through duty collection. It makes the demand to promote trade attract concerted efforts in building capacity of stakeholders, to help them work with ease through the categories of processes they need to go through.
While business and trade have essentially taken global outlook, it is also true that there is increased need for effective security and control of international supply chain. It is a challenge that can threaten the flow of trade. Still fresh in mind is the case of the arms and ammunition found inside a smuggled consignment of rice in Ogun State.
It is an increase in international threat because the instance mentioned here may just be one out of many others. Realistically, that case expresses the dangers in international trade and how it can affect genuine business. It may not be totally ruled out that the arrested persons are members of a gun-running cartel or those nurturing terrorism, whereas, the sub-regional trade liberalisation was meant to encourage pockets of cottage businesses to contribute to the economic development of the countries within the region.
Much as international trade needs to be developed, there should also be no room given to chance for which terrorism could have a veritable avenue to be established. This tells why the Service should never toy with border control, which should now be handled with improved sophistication.
Since matters of integrity also count in the overall operation approach, lapses which have become some form of concern need to be addressed. Complaints of containers that had been hitherto cleared from the ports, but being arrested again on the way to the owner’s destination, point to a pronounced lapse.
The chain of the personnel who attend to the cargo clearance process is long and scrutinising enough, as it appears, to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion for a container to be cleared and released. Therefore, if this is done, there is no reason for containers to be held bound after being released. The action simply goes to rubbish the operational processes which ought to spell integrity and promote international trade.
While efforts are on to checkmate the disturbing development, several complaints have also been raised concerning the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, for similar act of stopping and delaying containers that have left the port. It will be good that these operations that take place outside the port after containers must have been cleared be contained within the ambits of the entire clearance procedure, so that we can stay within the global practice of trade matters in this respect.
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.