Agents lament systems breakdown in Customs

Lagos ports. . . Customs officers test run scanning operation

Toju Vincent 16 August 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Customs licensed agents have decried incessant breakdown in the computer server at the Tin-Can Island Port, a development that sometime make cargoes run into unnecessary demurrage.

The agents alleged sabotage on the part of the information technology firm contracted to assist in its reform process.

Speaking at the recent colloquium organised by the Maritime Reporters Congress of Nigeria, MARCON, former Chairman of the Association of Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Mr. Kayode Farinto said the trend of system breakdown is not new.

Farinto stated that the issue of sabotage could not be ruled out as the information technology consultant is wary of the fact that its contract was running out, adding that it would do everything possible to remain relevant.

The former ANLCA boss explained that because of the continuous system failure, duty payments are not reflected in the Customs systems sometimes for days.

He disclosed that sometimes the computer server at Tin-Can will breakdown and remain down for as much as three to four days.

Speaking in similar vein, the Secretary General of the National Approved Government Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Mr. Increase Uche said that system failure is a daily occurrence..

The Technical Supervisor of the Nigeria Customs Service at the Tin-Can Island Port Command Nasiru Isiyaku said that the breakdown of the server is sabotage adding that the rate at which the frequency system fluctuates is too high.

Mr. Chris Osunkwo, the Command Public Relations officer said that such situation is only experienced when there is heavy rain fall or strong wind.

Osunkwo also explained that it is at such times that duty payments are not reflected because such payments hang until they drop into Customs system.

He further explained that the situation arise because of the involvement of a third party (inter switch) that facilitate the inter-connectivity between the banks and the Automated System for Customs Data, ASYCUDA.

“Although, sabotage cannot be ruled out, the rate at the system fluctuates has become something else”.Osunkwo said.

Meanwhile, officers of the Nigeria Customs Service has commenced scanning operations at the Tin-Can Island port ahead of the December deadline for the service providers to hand over the operations.

Disclosing this to newsmen in Lagos, Customs spokesman, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi said that the Command was chosen for strategic reasons.
Adeniyi also disclosed that the pilot project of the transition from Risk Assessment Report, RAR, to Pre- Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, will also be carried at the Tin-Can Island Command of the service.

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