31 January 2014, Lagos – Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has said that is not responsible for the delay in the cargo clearance processes. The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Apapa Area 1 Command (NCS), Comptroller Eporwei C.B. Edike disclosed this in a statement.
NCS statement is coming on the heels of insinuations in some quarters that men and officers of NCS have the penchant for withholding documents, which is responsible for the delay in cargo clearance processes, especially now that the service has taken over from scanner service providers in the issuance of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).
Some stakeholders said the unnecessary filing away of documents on men and officers desk, especially those saddle with the responsible for approving them, are attempts to extort money from port users.
Port users, particularly importers and licensed customs agents have not ceased to use every avenue to decry the delay in the cargo clearance procedures since NCS took total charge with the introduction of PAAR following the termination of the scanner service providers’ contract with the federal government last year.
Speaking when the Managing Director of APM Terminals Apapa Limited, Mr. Andrew Dawes, paid a courtesy call on him and presented him with a plaque for what he described as his “vision, leadership and industry partnership”, Edike said since assumption of office last year, he has made trade facilitation the watchword at the command.
His words: “I do not keep any document on my desk. As they come in, they must be treated immediately and sent out. My officers do not keep documents. They have a time limit to treat any document because when you delay a document, the implications can sometimes be more than you can imagine and we will not hesitate to sanction any officer found to delay documents unnecessarily. We are here to implement the vision of the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi, who frowns at any form of lackadaisical attitude.”
The CAC also said that he directed the stemming of containers to off-dock terminals on assumption of duty at NCS, Apapa Area 1 Command, Apapa, Lagos so as to ensure that goods are cleared on time.
Edike who received the APM Terminals boss along with senior officers of the command expressed appreciation to the company for maintaining cordial working relationship with his men and officers.
Dawes had used the occasion of his visit to hail Edike for his role in facilitating trade at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos.
While acknowledging the good working relationship between the NCS, Apapa Area Command and his company, Dawes said APM Terminals will continue to support NCS to effectively carry out its functions at the port.
He said the transition from destination inspection (DI) scheme service providers to the NCS has been smooth even as he commended Edike and his team for their professional conduct and dedication to duty.
Dawes who was accompanied on the visit by the Chief Commercial Officer of the firm, Mr. Neil Fletcher also commended the men and officers of the command for embracing weekend examination of containers.
His words: “We are impressed with your leadership quality at the command. You are focused and diligent in your duties. I assure you of our support at all times and also in the implementation of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR)”.
Dawes disclosed that the new multilevel physical inspection facility being built by his company will be ready for use by the end of the first quarter of 2014. He also said that a new office facility will be provided for officers and men of the NCS in the new administrative building being constructed at the terminal.
– John Iwori, This Day