Port efficiency: Tin Can Customs steps up dispute resolution mechanisms …Targets N30bn monthly revenue
Customs Area Controller, Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Abdullahi Musa
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Tin Can Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has reinvigorated its internal mechanisms on the resolution of disagreements arising from cargo declarations in terms of valuation, classifications, and Pre-Arrival Assessment Report PAAR-related issues arising between designated officers of the command and the trading public, especially importers and their agents in the course of international trade transactions.
This is with a view to removing all encumbrances in trade documentations at the port by enhancing timely release of cargo in line with the Federal Government’s policy on promoting ease of doing business, not only in the port industry but also across all segments of the national economy.
The command has also put measures in place that would boost its revenue generation, which has peaked at between N1.4billion and N1.8billion daily in line with the N29.5billion national target given to it for the 2018 fiscal year, as it has insisted that it would exceed the N29.5billion target, projecting N30billion instead.
The command had generated a total of N76.7billion revenue for the first quarter of 2018, in the midst of dwindling cargo volumes that characterised the early part of the year and also given the current economic realities in the country. This compares to the N61.8billion collected in the comparative period of 2017, which represents an increase of N14.9billion or 24.1 per cent growth rate.
Under the new mechanisms, the command has rejigged and re-enforced its Dispute Resolution Committee, which is made up egg -heads and experts at the command on valuation and other trade issues, who sit in committee with the importers or their agents to resolve all trade issues or disagreements.
It was further gathered that the command has also extended the sitting periods of the committee, which used to sit twice weekly but now sits more regularly as any issue arises, as the Customs Area Command refers such issues to the committee, which sits promptly to address the issues.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Uche Ejesieme, who confirmed these new developments, said they were in line with the zeal and resolution of the Customs Area Command, Comptroller Abdullahi Musa to enhance efficient release of cargo at the command.
According to him, in a bid to enhance efficiency, some of the issues are resolved promptly while the importer is allowed to take delivery of the consignment depending on the veracity of the dispute and the profile of the importer in question even as the Post Clearance Audit Unit of the command follows up from there to forestall delays.
He also disclosed that the CAC is now the principal help desk officer while the PRO deputises for him, all geared towards ensuring that there are no delays in addressing issues arise in the course of cargo clearance at the command. The command has also opened a dedicated telephone line, which runs from 8am-5.30 pm daily to receive complaints on trade issues.
Records also show that the command has deployed Information Communication Technology ICT that monitors officers at the various desks including the terminals as well as the introduction of the time release studies, which are tools for self-assessment of officers to achieve ease of doing business.
The image-maker however regretted that despite these efforts put in place by the command, a lot of people think that the service, being the lead government agency is behind every delay in the release of cargo, insisting that majority of them are caused by the delays in issuing end-user certificates for some regulated products.