Customs Seeks Elimination Of 200 Cargo Clearing Documents

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is seeking replacement of 200 cargo clearing documents with a single document for efficient service delivery at the nation’s seaports. The service noted that as the country was gradually moving to meet the 2025 target set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for nations to attain the Port Community System, there was need for the harmonisation of laws of the various government agencies involved in cargo clearing at the nation’s seaports so as to avoid duplication of laws and processes.

The Comptroller General of Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi frowned at the duplicity of laws by the various agencies of government noting that the development hampers trade and makes clearing procedure at the nation’s seaports cumbersome and time wasting. Adeniyi further revealed that with the Port Community System, efforts were being made to eliminate the use of over 200 documents for cargo clearance and replace it with a single document which would serve the interest of all the agencies that were involved in cargo clearing.

He explained that 80 per cent of activities relating to cargo clearing happen outside the customs zone except for physical examination of cargoes, noting that the only thing that could bring importer or agent to customs was cargo examination. The comptroller general stressef that even the cargo had been release, NCS would send information to the terminal, who will triggers the exit of the goods.

Also, Adeniyi said at a forum in Lagos with the theme: “The Imperative Of PCS For Integration Of All Players In Nigerian Port System,” that every government agency in Nigeria that has something to do with maritime industry had their own mandate which they call their laws, noting that the service had reviewed its own law as contained in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023. Adeniyi added:

“Wouldn’t it be something of interest in order to achieve this Port Community System (PCS) if every other agencies review laws and see areas where such laws have something to share with other laws and then, we harmonise them and then, it becomes one so that what obtains in one agency also obtains in another. “Take for instance, issues of drug interdiction. Nigeria Customs Service has a law against importation of illicit substances, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has the same law against importation of illicit substances, National Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has the same law against importation of illicit substances, these are laws that can be harmonised and it will be one.”

The comptroller general stressed that the crux of his paper was not just about how to remove barriers to customs processes but on how to remove barriers to trade, adding that customs was part of the global supply chain just like every other members of the Port Community System. According to him, “we are not just discussing customs here, we are discussing trade generally. And like I said, trade is very significant for every nation. The success and development of a nation depends on how they manage this trade.

For us as customs, our revenue comes from this, from the aspect of the national security, management of trade also has some significant role to play in what comes into Nigeria or what goes out, how we manage raw materials importation, how we manage export of goods. “But most significantly, IMO set a target of 2025 for every nation particularly Nigeria to have attained the Port Community System. We are working towards that. Like you saw me right there, since 1997, we have been working to modernise our system culminating in the Nigeria Customs Service NICIS II and then, we are also migrating to trade modernisation programme which effectively will further embrace other community users.

“Almost all other major players in the maritime sector, in the nation’s economy – Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Bureau of Statistics, Central Bank of Nigeria, they are all hooked up to the customs system and luckily enough, Mr. President recently approved a National Single Window domiciled with the Federal Inland Revenue Service. So, we are attaining that. By 2025 I hope Nigeria would have attained what is expected of them.

New Telegraph

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