03 April 2014, Lagos – Nigerian banks have demanded outright ban of the hard copy of ship manifest, saying that “the non-electronic copy contributes to the delay of cargo clearance process and sometimes sharp practices”.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria,(CBN) in Lagos to intimate stakeholders on the enhanced system of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of PAAR real time in Abuja, Mr. Ony Egboma, said that issuing hard copy of ship manifest has been banned for a long time and remains banned.
The bankers said that about 20 percent of importers still submit hard copy of ship manifest as against the electronic copy which is meant to ease the cargo clearance process.
At the meeting, the bankers noted that the practice by local shipping firms to issue manual ship manifest in Nigeria is against the rule regulating shipping.
The law guiding international shipping says that ship manifest must leave the country of loading 48 hours before departure.
Michael Onwujika of Citi Bank told the meeting that manual ship manifest should be stopped so as to make the electronic one more efficient.
He said that some ship manifest are produced by shipping companies and then transmitted to the relevant authorities for onward processing.
Taiwo Egbeyemi demanded that both the Customs and the banks should strategise to ensure that ship manifest get to banks 48 hours before the arrival of the vessel.
Commenting on the matter, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, said that most firms commit fraud with ship manifest that are produced in Nigeria.
He explained that when the original ship manifest gets to the local representatives in Nigeria, they (Local representatives) doctor the document such that what is originally on the ship manifest is at variance with what is produced by the local shipping firm.
“At the end of the day, what is carried on the vessel is under declared and in the process, government is short changed” .he said
Effort to speak with the Chairman of the Shipping Association of Nigeria, (SAN) Chief Val Usifo was abortive as he asked the reporter to call back on Monday morning.