…As Tin Can Customs CPC Gets Facelift
Regardless of the traffic gridlock on access roads into port, the Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has said it is enforcing 8am resumption time for its officers, even as it directed that henceforth, terminal operators must be ready for cargo examination by 10 am.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS on Wednesday, Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejesieme reported that the area controller, Compt Musa Baba Abdullahi gave the directive at a recent stakeholders meeting.
He said the command had discovered that there were lapses with the shipping companies and terminal operators, lapses with some of the customs operatives in the field, gaps among other sister security agencies, regulatory agencies, importers and their agents.
He said this was why Compt Musa MBA took the initiative and conveyed a major meeting which had representatives of all the affected departments.
Uche told our correspondent that there were several complaints of officers not resuming on their duty posts on time and this made the area controller to issue the directive for officers to resume by 8am.
Apart from these, the Customs boss observed that cargo examination reports are not generated as quickly as possible, and he has directed that once examination is concluded, the report must follow immediately.
Speaking, Uche said “We discovered that, before now, people tend to apportion all manner of blames to Customs when there are issues affecting the trade value chain, even if the issues have to do with infrastructure, some people will ignorantly apportion it to Customs.
“In the cause of the review, we discovered that Customs have only two major roles in the value chain which is examination and release of cargo. Transmission of electronic manifest is done by the shipping company, punching and declaration is done by the agent, after this, examination and release is done by Customs
“If you are exiting cargo, TDO and other final processes, it is not Customs duty”
“On areas that concerns Customs, we were having some complaints from stakeholders, either rightly or wrongly, that our officers were not resuming on time, and on that meeting, the Area Controller has directed that all officers must be at their desk by 8am”
“For the terminal operators, the meeting under the CAC agreed that all container examination must start by 10am, this means that if a container is to be examined today, the terminal operator ought to have positioned them prior to that day”
“All agencies are expected to line up behind Customs as directed by the ease of doing business committee as the lead agency. So the issue of one agency coming to give flimsy excuses for not participating in cargo examination would no longer be tolerated”
“Once it is time for examination, everybody goes at once, and if there are areas you need to add value, it has to be a consensus”
“We also discovered that the examination reports are not generated as quickly as possible, and the CAC has directed that once you conclude examination, the report must follow”
“For the importers and their agents, the issue of compliance is what we have been preaching, if we are saying that Customs must resume by 8oclock and examination of cargo starts by 10 am, they too are expected to be there before that time. It wouldn’t make any sense if all the agencies are on ground and there are no agents or importers there”
When asked on how implementable the CAC directive would be, considering the ongoing construction of access roads from Mile 2 to Tin Can Port, Ejesieme said the command is not taking this as an excuse.
He said “If for example you are given an appointment at the US embassy, sometimes they give you 6.15 am and you will never miss it, the Area Controller is not taking the decay in road infrastructure as an excuse, irrespective of where you are coming from, we expect that officially, every officer must be at his desk by 8oclock”
“The Controller himself come in before 7.30 am and he closes by 7pm, in this PR unit, we resume by 6.30 to 7 am.It has to do with discipline and your determination to work, irrespective of where you are coming from”
Meanwhile the command has carried out major construction and refurbishment of its facilities at the Customs Processing Centre (CPC) at Tin Can port.
Our correspondent noted that some of the offices occupied by officers which hitherto was dilapidated and usually dripping water in rainy seasons have now been renovated.
Apart from the office renovation, Ejesieme said the command has constructed a mosque, while the chapel and the canteen are all being refurbished.