Business

August 17, 2015

Customs agents petition Presidency over destination inspection scheme

By Godwin Oritse

The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, (NAMDLCA) has petitioned the Presidency over the total collapse of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, (PAAR) introduced by the management of Nigeria Customs Service.

NAMDLCA boss, Lucky Amiwero

The petition signed by Mr. Lucky Amiwero, President of the Council, said that the scheme which was officially handed over to Nigeria West Blue Consulting for the deployment of (PAAR) platform on behalf of Customs Service suffered a setback as a result of the Customs inability to manage the huge demand of PAAR.

Amiwero who is also a member and Sub-committee chairman of the Draft report of the Reconstituted Presidential Task Force on the Reform of (DIS), noted that Customs took over the PAAR project from January 1, 2014 adding that by June of the same year , the destination inspection system collapsed late due to issuance of (PAAR) that took three months to issue by Customs under Techno Brain West Blue Consulting.

Many importers lost their cargo in the process as a result of the huge demurrage and rent that were up to three times the cost of the goods.

He explained that the former Minister of Finance and coordinator of the economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, intervened through a letter dated April 22nd 2014 directing the Comptroller-General of Customs, to address the total failure of the West Blue (PAAR) platform and the change to Webb Fontaine platform and the remodeling of the PAAR scheme.

Part of the petition reads: “The Scanners handed over to Nigeria Customs Service have all collapsed, as all processes relating to scanning in the ports are now done physically, bringing us back to complete manual era with lengthy, cumbersome and costly process at the ports.

“The process of valuation and classification handed over to Customs has witnessed illegal imposition process and flagrant disregard for the statute of procedure, which resulted to massive diversion of vessels to neighbouring West African ports and the loss of goods by importers due to reckless imposition.

“Scanners for the Facilitation and Security of our environments are no more functioning in the ports

“Risk assessment System collapsed due to non-functioning of the scanners

“Pre- Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) is encumbered with various duplication interventions from headquarters, zone, and Area and unit of

“Alert” and imposition of illegal procedure that negate trade process.

The Pre-Arrival Assessment Report has failed to achieve its objective as the report was meant to be the final document for the release of cargoes from the port.

The report is now being queried by any officer that feels dissatisfied with whatever assessment that may have been done by other customs officers.

He also disclosed that the same West Blue has gone to Ghana to do what it could not do in Nigeria.