… Blame most declaration discrepancies on importers rather than agents
The desire to have the Pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) acquire the status of a one-off cargo clearance unquestionable document may not materialize, until importers learn to make honest declarations, across board.
This was the submission of stakeholders who attended a Port-gist and Event award in Lagos, noting that in spite of the success of the initiative, it is the importers, far more than the Customs agents, that were responsible for most discrepancies in declarations.
Already, within nine months of 2014, despite the teething problems experienced, over N913 billion have accrued to the kitty of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as a result of PAAR implementation.
The stakeholders noted that the PAAR, once issued, immediately brings to test, the integrity of the importers, with the examination of the shipment, to determine the honesty of the documentary declaration. More so, because the PAAR, is issued based on the document of Shipments, forwarded to Customs through the Designated/Authorised banks, by importers who are also notified through text messages and email, of the correctness or otherwise of the documents forwarded within the hours.
Lauding the PAAR platform, the National President of NAGAFF- Chief Eugene Nweke, described it as a home-grown initiative of the Nigeria Customs Service, but presently sought after, by some other countries, because its implementation has been a huge success.
In his analysis, backed by statistics, Nweke insisted that the Customs had done Nigeria proud, with the PAAR platform, and noted that he was therefore not surprised, that the Service was actually fetching money on daily basis, into the Federation Account, especially going by the revenues accruing to the Government.
The National President of ANLCA- Prince Olayiwola Shittu, in his own contribution, advised that it was in this circumstance that Customs must embark on deliberate task of collection, collation and analysis of data from the examination of shipments, to enable a comprehensive profiling of importers, not just only the Customs brokers.
The APM- Apapa, Deputy Comptroller (D/C) Ibrahim Yusuf confirmed Chief Eugene Nweke’s presentation, stating that over 1200 PAAR were presently being transmitted on daily basis, against a little over 100 at inception stages.
He also confirmed that PAARs were issued within three hours, if they were straight forward, honest declarations.
Speaking in the same vein, the representative of the Comptroller General of Customs and CAC- Apapa, Comptroller Charles Epowei Edike emphasized that with honest and transparent declarations, PAAR could become a one-stop-shop document for cargo clearance, and pleaded with importers to always do the right things to ensure everybody’s happiness.
Among those honoured were the CGC, CAC-Apapa, National Presidents of ANLCA and NAGAFF, the MD of NIWA, MD/CEO of Sifax group, CAC-FOU ‘A’ and ‘C’ Zones, Former Zonal Coordinator, West of ANLCA, etc.
Prince Kayode Collins Farinto (the host and immediate past Chairman of Tin Can Chapter of ANLCA) is the editor-in-chief/publisher of PEB magazine.