11 May 2013, Abuja – The notorious incompetence of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, may have driven the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, into generating its own power requirements independently, particularly to maintain the integrity of its ever-expanding information communication technology, ICT, project.
This emerged during a visit to the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, recently by journalists, as part of a retreat on Effective Media/ Public Relations Synergy for Maritime Development, organised by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria, MARAN, at the Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja.
On a tour of the Customs Ruling Centre, the Head, Deputy Comptroller Yusuf Bashar explained that, because of the sensitive and critical nature of the unit’s work in the trade facilitation work of the NCS, its operations were being run by the Service with generating sets, independent of public power supply.
According to Bashar, a different generator is used for each day’s work to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the systems. He added that the Service usually renewed the generators after two years of usage.
He affirmed that the Service would ensure conclusion of all Customs clearing procedures in six hours, as soon as the implementation of the impending regime of online Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, takes off.
“The essence of PAAR is that it eliminates waiting for any document by the importer when his/her cargo arrives.
“As we are speaking today, PAAR is ready. But June is the policy statement for PAAR to replace RAR (Risk Assessment Report), when the inspection would be handed over to the Customs,” Bashar said.
He explained that, as part of the preparations for the implementation of the PAAR scheme, the Service had stated training all government agencies having business to do at the ports, issuing the agencies a master user’s status.
He assured that the training would also be extended to the other stakeholders in the maritime industry.
Bashar said that, in order to prevent hacking into the Customs computer system, the Service had sent its officers to Canada, United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) for training on combating cyber crime.
These officers, according to him, recently returned to the country. Bashar said that the Customs had trained over 120 young graduates who have taken over the ICT Unit to process the trade portal hub.