By Godfrey Bivbere & Olaitan Ayoola
Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, will next week stop the use of Pre-release for the clearance of cargoes from the ports, even as it assured that it would soon overcome the problems hindering the issuance of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR.
Pre-release enables importers and their agents, who do not have their RAR or PAAR to take delivery of their consignments until the document is ready.
Disclosing this to Vanguard in his office, the Public Relations Officer of Tin-can Island Command of the NCS, Chris Osunkwo, attributed the delay in the issuance of PAAR to the churning out of about a 100,000 Risk Assessment Report, RAR, by the Service Providers.
According to him, “We have worked hard and we are even working to clear the backlog (created by the Service Providers) and very soon all things being equal, next week or there about, the management may suspend the “Pre-release.” So, we are looking forward to when it will be suspended and the PAAR will start rolling out.”
Continuing he said, “The delay came as a result of exiting Service Providers chocking up our system by generating approximately 100,000 RAR at once just before they left. We inherited a backlog and you know what happens when you have a backlog at hand, you have to work to clear the backlog before you can settle down.
“There is no prefect human system.. We are very prepared, we are making progress. I can speak authoritatively for the Tin-can Island port Command, which last month netted N23.2 billion which is unprecedented and then if PAAR is not working and we are not prepared, it would have shown in our revenue profile.”
On insinuations making the rounds that application for Pre-release takes weeks to get the approval, Osunkwo said that some agents do not follow the guideline issued by the Service for benefiting from Pre-release, which is intended to ease clearance of consignments from the ports.
H e pointed out that the right thing is for an importer or his agent to pay the duty for the consignment before applying for Pre-release, but noted that many have not been complying with the guideline.
In his words, “The guideline recommended that upon payment of duty, you should apply to the Area Controller for Pre-release. You must follow the guideline, not a situation where you just come and apply to Pre-release without payment. What gives the paper in your hand authority and add value to it, is your payment to the Federal Government.”
Continuing he said, even after payment of duty, “there must be verification of validity of their electronic Form and confirmation of payment before we proceed (Process document).
“We cannot say because there are a lot of people waiting we should not do what is needful,” he concluded.