By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that some officers of Nigeria Customs Service may have abandoned the integrated platform; Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System II, (NICIS II) for pecuniary gains.
These officers, specifically, those at valuation department have been alleged to be frustrating the platform from automatically computing duty payable on cargoes, thereby leaving room for manipulations.
NICIS II became operational in pilot commands, such as Tin Can Island Port, Apapa Area 1 and Port Harcourt Area 1 commands in January 2018.
Speaking with journalists last week, Chairman of PTML Chapter of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Elder Oluwole Obey said clearance of vehicles through the terminal is somewhat problematic today because of the failure of NICIS 2 platform.
Speaking, he said “I don’t support customs clamping down on vehicles at various car marts because there is a system called NICIS 2, the Customs should allow NICIS 2 to work, then we would not have any issue with anybody”
“If the system was working today, any car dealer cannot tell me to do what I would ordinarily not do, because immediately you input your information into the NICIS 2, it would show you the exact amount of duty you have to pay”
“They should allow the NICIS 2 to work, I don’t know why the system is not working, you can go and ask from the Customs management”
“When the NICIS 2 is working, there would not be valuation section again in the Customs” he said
Supporting this position, another frontline licensed customs agent, Mr Ayo Sulaiman, lamented that presently the Customs NICIS 2 is on partial implementation.
Speaking, he said “NICIS 2 was originally designed to auto compute duty and generate assessment but there is deliberate effort to delay the platform from generating duty automatically”
Meanwhile, the ANLCA Chairman, Elder Oluwole Obey has also alleged that the Ease of Doing Business order by the Federal Government is not also working at the port because of the decayed road infrastructure leading into the port.
According to him, before Ease of Doing Business order can be successful, the roads have to be fixed to ensure that goods are cleared within 24 hours.
“Ease of Doing Business is yet to work because of the bad roads, before anybody can answer the question on the Ease of Doing Business now, all the roads must have been upgraded, because they have been trying to make sure the road is fixed and they are introducing the rail, definitely if all these are completed, cargoes can be cleared in 24 hours”