By Ifeanyiwa Obi
Barely one year after the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, introduced the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, the service yesterday, affirmed that the initiative has enhanced trade facilitation, even as cargoes are completely scrutinized based on the risk associated with them.
Speaking to Vanguard, the Area Project Manager, Apapa Area 1 command of the NCS, Deputy Comptroller Ibrahim Yusuf, explained that PAAR, which was designed to facilitate trade, ease off the tension of manual operations, as well as domesticate the use of service providers, has saved over N40 billion, from the one per cent Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme, CISS, charges on import initially paid to service providers.
Describing those condemning the PAAR system as paid critics of service providers, who are still feeling bad losing the one per cent CISS charges for a work not done, Yusuf disclosed that “as it is now, we have saved about N40 billion which would have ended up going to the service providers and by the end of the year, the Customs would have saved over N60 billion going to government coffers.”
The Deputy Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service, who added that the World Customs Organisation and World Trade Organisation have certified PAAR, asking other countries to follow suit because of its reliability, explained that “PAAR is nothing but a documentary processing paper designed to facilitate trade and ease off the tension of manual operations.
“With the concept of PAAR, it is what an importer presented through his bank that PAAR will give to him. The Customs look at the value and classification before issuing PAAR, and this involves series of scrutiny, when it comes to clearing of cargoes.” “The consignment can be selected by the scanning system as blue, green or red lanes. The green lane confirms the cargo to have a sound track record of integrity, whereas the red lane shows the cargo has a high risk and must go through physical examination. ”
This physical examination is not only conducted by the Customs, as it also involves the Department of State Services (DSS), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and other collaborating agencies are also given alert on cargo that is in their purview,” he said.