19 October 2015, Lagos – As part of efforts to stem increasing trade malpractices at the Nigerian ports, which result in huge revenue losses, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has reaffirmed plans to soon deploy advanced cargo information system, otherwise known as Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) at the nation’s ports to stem the tide.
Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, disclosed this when he played host to the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), who visited the Council weekend.
Bello expressed optimism that all fraudulent practices, such as under-declaration of goods and concealment would be checked once the CTN is installed at the ports.
Describing the conduct of shippers involved in under-declaration and concealment, as an act of tax evasion, the Shippers Council boss said the introduction of advanced cargo information system will put a stop to the illicit acts and in turn boost revenue generation from the ports.
Bello said the CTN will provide a credible data and also has the benefits of securing the cargoes being imported into the country.
With advanced information of the cargoes prior to their arrival, he said, cargo clearance will become faster since all the service providers would have prepared in advance for the reception and processes of delivery, unlike the current situation where everyone has to wait for the manifest.
Furthermore, he said, the CTN will equally check under-declaration of gross registered tonnage (GRT) of the vessels bringing goods into the country, adding that this will help increase revenue from the ports sector.
Earlier, Ali had sought the cooperation of the Council as the Ports Economic Regulator to end all cases of falsification by shippers observed during examination of cargoes at the ports.
The customs helmsman had observed that in most cases, what were declared in the documentation were often different from what were seen during physical examination of the goods in the ports, a development he said was worrisome to the Service.
He also noted that importers deliberately generalise their cargoes instead of giving a clear description of the cargoes they are bringing into the country.
Ali said the visit was aimed at seeking the collaboration of the Regulator so that any issue can always be resolved amicably.
Receiving the new customs boss, Bello said his visit was a clear demonstration of his readiness to collaborate with the Council and other government agencies in the ports for efficient service delivery.
The CTN is a global initiative to monitor and verify cargo on transit. It has the blessings of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and World Customs Organisation (WCO), which Nigeria is a member. The idea first came up in 2007, but attempt to implement it in 2009 was suspended following protest by shipping industry stakeholders as a result of the high charges imposed on shippers. It was then under the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). However, under the current dispensation, the cargo tracking regime will now be managed by the Shippers’ Council as the ports regulator. When fully in force, every shipper, including importers and exporters will follow the laid down procedures to be announced by the ports regulator.
- This Day