The Nigeria Customs Service has said it is more than ever before committed to promoting the Ease of Doing Business in the entire supply chain in the country in Line with the policy of the Federal Government.

Officer in charge of the Joint Inspection Board JIB, at the Apapa Command of the service, Assistant Comptroller Yahaha Idris Oladiran, who gave this assurance, spoke in an interview on the side line of the two-day national conference of the Port Facility Security Officers Forum of Nigeria PFSOFON, with the theme: ‘ISPS Code Implementation in Nigeria: A Catalyst for Ease of Doing Business in the Ports’, held recently in Lagos.

According to him, long before Federal Government’s directive on promoting Ease of Doing Business in the port industry, the service has introduced measures that enabled importers and exporters transact their businesses in the port industry without hitches, thereby enhancing ease of doing business.

He cited the instances of the service migrating from its former analogue form of processing goods at the ports to the Automated System for Customs Data ASYCUDA and then to the more globally acceptable ASYCUDA++.

This facilitated the establishment of Dealer Traders’ Input DTI, cafes, which made it possible for dealers and clearing agents to make their cargo entries from the comfort of their offices without visiting any Customs office.

With the aid of the ASYCUDA++, the service established four examination channels comprising the Blue, which is the fast track channel meant for members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria MAN, most of who import raw materials and have maintained a record of high integrity over the years while the Yellow channel goes for scanning as well as the red channel, which recommends 100 per cent physical examination for consignments that fall under this category.

The service had also introduced electronic ship manifest, bill of lading and electronic payment systems, which made it possible for importers and exporters to make payments online real time.

The Assistant Comptroller also disclosed that following Federal Government’s directive on promoting Ease of Doing Business, the Customs Area Controller in charge of the Apapa Command, Comptroller Musa Jibrin swung into action, which gave rise to the establishment of the Joint Examination and Certification Board for the command, which promotes integrated examination of cargo by all the agencies involved.

Membership of this board covers all government agencies that participate in cargo examination at the port comprising officers of the service, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC, National Plant Quarantine Service NPQS, and Ports Health Service, among others.

The modus operandi of this board is that representatives of the agencies are informed in advance of dates and times of examination for cargo that import duty has been paid even as infractions are resolved within 12 hours so as not to waste the shipper’s time.

The JIB-boss also disclosed that the command recently launched the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System NICIS II, which he described as the National Single Window Platform, which he said are in line with the efforts of the command in particular and the service in general to enhance the ease of doing business and also promote trade.

The Assistant Comptroller, who further assured that the service would continue to adopt new ways of making business transactions at the sea, airports and land borders easier for importers and exporters, disclosed that the command had recently adopted the Authorised Economic Operator AEO model of the World Customs Organisation WCO as part of efforts of promoting ease of doing business and trade facilitation.