…Says Customs PAAR Has Become a Deception
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Immediate past National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu has said that Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) being introduced by the Nigerian Shippers Council is a welcomed idea which would help the Nigeria Customs Service in terms of cargo declarations.
Shittu who spoke on the sidelines of an industry event in Lagos last week noted that the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) a trade document by the Customs has failed to live up to expectations.
The PAAR originally by design is meant to be a final document that after obtaining it, it would give importers a clean bill of health to pick their cargoes from the port.
Shittu however lamented that the PAAR has become nothing but a deception.
Even though he stressed that the CTN can never be a replacement for the PAAR, he however said it would eradicate illegality in the clearing of cargoes and put an end to wrong declarations.
According to the former ANLCA President, Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that is not operating the CTN.
Speaking on the Cargo Tracking Note, he said “Anything that would eradicate illegality in the clearing of cargoes and put an end to wrong declarations is welcomed.
Nigeria is the only country in Africa that is not using CTN, other west African countries are using it, it is a declaration”
“The CTN would help Customs in terms of declaration of cargoes. As it is now, there is no hard and fast guarantee of clearing of cargo in the sense that every documentation you do today is a suspect, no matter how compliant your importer is, you are regarded as a suspect, that is why you see multiplicity of checks at the port”
“The PAAR is a deception, originally we agreed that it was supposed to be a final document by the Customs, to determine if the value of cargo is okay, if not, they uplift it, but no matter how many level of uplifting now, you would still be queried at the port, so what does the PAAR do?
“If we have another document from another source, which would give the importers a latitude to prove his case, the CTN can come in, but it is not a replacement to PAAR, the PAAR is advisory for the Customs.
“Ghana started PAAR before Nigeria, we went there and saw it work, if you are importing a vehicle and you input the VIN on their platform, it would tell you how much you have to pay as duty, after paying you can take delivery of your car and go away without being chased around by customs that your value is low”
“The situation at our ports is depressing, we do not have a uniformed value for vehicles, the duty you pay at Tin Can Port is different from PTML or Port Harcourt port, how long are we going to continue with that” he lamented.
The ANLCA former President also commended the insurance bond scheme by the Nigerian Shippers Council to replace container deposits being collected by shipping companies.
He observed that the insurance scheme is a very good idea because the volume of money that the shipping companies are trading with is too much and this is at the expense of Nigerians.
He said if the Shippers Council can implement the insurance scheme, it would only cost stakeholders paying for premium.
According to him, shipping companies should care for their empty containers, “They are using Nigeria as a dumping ground for containers that has saturated abroad, most countries do not take these containers anymore, but in Nigeria here they don’t bother, as long as they have your money”
“The lifespan of a container is twenty years, most countries would not use substandard containers, the problem with Nigeria is that we are not a producing country, ordinarily, we are supposed to use these containers to export ,but because we are not doing so, the containers keep piling up in our country” he said