22 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — IN a bid to ensure full compliance with the executive order on 24 hours ports operations, the Nigeria Customs Service has insisted that advanced cargo manifest by shipping line agencies must be submitted 7 days before the arrival of the vessel to the nation’s seaport.
Besides, the executive order on port 24 hours port operations also directed that import documents be reduced from 14 to 8 while that of export has been reduced from 10 to 7.
Speaking at a town hall meeting organized by journalists under the aegis of Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd.) stated that the advance cargo manifest would enable the risk management profiled and separated on time before ship arrival.
He said, “In order to achieve greater service delivery at the ports, there was the need to streamline the current import and export guidelines procedures.
Ali reiterated that “to achieve greater service delivery at our ports the department of home finance of the Federal Ministry of Finance revised Nigeria’s import and export guidelines streamlining the current procedures”
The new guidelines according to the Customs boss, would focus on some of the issues causing inefficiency and delay at the ports.
Ali who was represented by the Customs Area Controller, Ports and Terminal multi-services Limited (PTML) Command of the service, Comptroller Aremu Morenike explained that some of the new guidelines would impact directly on the operations of officers and men at the ports.
Harping on the actualisation of 24hours ports operation, the customs boss maintained that the service is positioned to implement the executive order saying that the impediment to the attainment remains the integrity and compliance of the trading public in ensuring proper documentation and honest declaration.
The customs top brass noted that the service remains the lead agency in cargo examination at the ports adding that under the new guidelines, cargo placement notice time for the examination required by terminal operators would be reduced from the proposed 24hours to a maximum 12hours.
The ex-Army chief re-echoed that revised guideline requires the shipping lines to electronically transmit advanced manifest to their consignments to the customs and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as soon as the vessel depart its last port of call, pointing out that such practices would promote risk management, profiling, and cargo placement for examination.
“in line with World Bank recommendation, the Federal Ministry of Finance has directed that the import document be reduced from 14 to 8 and export is from 10 to 7”
“The Nigeria Customs service now has the responsibility to coordinate the mandatory joint examination and sign off from to ensure that the interface between the trading public and the several regulatory agencies are reduced to the barest minimum”
“The Nigeria Customs Service joined other Ministries, Department Agencies (MDA’s) in making commitment towards the transformation of the business landscape in Nigeria as we focus on improving the Nigeria ranking in which we stood at 182 Trade Across Border particularly in the reduction of import and export time by up to 50% through strict adherence to international standard and practice”
There is no doubt that the Nigeria Customs Service has a pivotal role to play in our collective bid to entrench a more business friendly environment in Nigeria.
He added that the service has moved from manual long room procedures to the automated ASYCUDA++ platform which supported the following electronic quintessential innovation and adaptation that have contributed tremendously to trade facilitation.
Also speaking at the event, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello noted that 24hours port operations are achievable; calling on all government agencies to work as a team.
Bello who was represented Mrs. Juliana Saka from the Compliance and Monitoring Department of the council called on agencies operating at the port to compliment each other rather than competing.
He stated that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) launched by the council is a guide to all port users adding that the portal would also be integrated with customs formation.
Speaking earlier, the president of AMJON, Mr. Ismail Aniemu said that the programme was intended to bring stakeholders together create a template for the actualisation of the executive order.
He added that the forum was mainly to fathom a way out of the myriad of problems bedeviling the port to make the process a success.