By Godwin Oritse
IN a bid to ensure full compliance with the executive order on 24 hours ports operations, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has insisted that advanced cargo manifest by shipping agencies must be submitted seven days before the arrival of vessels at the nation’s seaports.
Besides, the executive order on 24 hours port operations also directed that import documents be reduced from 14 to eight days while that of export has been reduced from 10 to seven. Speaking at a town hall meeting with some maritime journalists, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.) said that the advance cargo manifest would enable risk management profiled and separated on time before ship arrival.
He stated: “In order to achieve greater service delivery at the ports, there was the need to streamline the current import and export procedures. To achieve greater service delivery at our ports, the department of home finance of the Federal Ministry of Finance revised Nigeria’s import and export guidelines streamlining the current procedures.” The new guidelines, according to the Customs boss, would focus on some of the issues causing inefficiency and delay at the ports.
Ali who was represented by the Customs Area Controller, Ports and Terminal Multi-services Limited (PTML) Command, Comptroller Aremu Morenike, explained that some of the new guidelines would impact directly on the operations of officers and men at the ports.
Harping on the actualisation of 24 hours ports operation, the customs boss maintained that NCS is positioned to implement the executive order, adding that the impediments to the attainment remain the integrity and compliance of the trading public in ensuring proper documentation and honest declaration.
Also speaking at the event, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello, noted that 24 hours port operation is achievable, calling on all government agencies to work as a team.
Bello who was represented by Mrs. Juliana Saka from the Compliance and Monitoring Department of the Council, called on agencies operating at the ports to complement each other rather than competing. He stated that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) launched by the Council is a guide to all port users, adding that the portal would also be integrated with Customs IT platform.