By Ray Ugochukwu
Port users operating in the Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Apapa, Lagos, may be in for a swell time as the Nigeria Customs Service there has assured that henceforth all trade-related complaints at the command would be resolved within six hours.
This assurance was given Wednesday at the command by the new Customs Area Controller (CAC), Comptroller Abdullahi Baba Musa, in a breakfast meeting with news men.
He said this would be achieved through the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) inherited by him, which he is presently rejigging to ensure that all disputes, no matter how complex, were resolved within six hours.
To make this possible, he has elected to be the command’s Chief Dispute Resolution Officer (CDRO) with the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Uche Ejesieme, as his Deputy.
“Prior to this time, the DRC was meeting twice a week to deliberate on conflicts arising from Valuation, Classification, PAAR, etc. However on assumption and as a pointer to our renewed enthusiasm for Trade Facilitation, I have directed that all issues arising from disputes must be attended to with dispatch. In view of this, the DRC have been directed to sit on daily basis for quick resolution of issues. We have re-engineered our help desk and made it more responsive and domiciled at the PRO’s office”, he stated.
“So, to serve you better, we shall continue to build capacity in all core Customs areas of Classification, Valuation, Risk Management, Data Management, etc. We shall collaborate with other Stakeholders in some other areas.
“It is however instructive to note and pertinent to reiterate that the Media, have over the years proven to be a Critical Segment of the Global World in consideration of their role to National Development, it therefore suffices to say that the role of the Media cannot be overemphasized”, he concluded, noting the main areas of focus as Trade Facilitation, Revenue Collection, National Security and Capacity Building”, he added.
Musa emphasized that the measure was in tune with the command’s drive at attaining the set revenue target of N354 billion for the year 2018.
In addition, according to him, the command intended to leverage on technology, particularly enhanced automation of operation, assuring also to carry all the critical stakeholders along in ensuring the attainment of Ease of Doing Business.
“We are committed to contributing to the economic growth and competiveness through Trade Facilitation and Ease of Doing Business Initiative of the Federal Government, by making Customs process and procedures more efficient, to enable lower transaction cost for business, as well as achieve competiveness in economic productivity, growths and improving the standard of living in the country”, he stated.
He said he would assiduously work on the 48-hour Cargo Clearance Time vision, adding “We have therefore deployed the ‘Time Release Studies’ as performance indicator to guide our performance”.
On the use of technology in Customs operations, the CAC said, “We are deploying a software to handle the remaining part of the Export Procedures. It will enable records of none Oil Export, Agriculture and others.
“We shall block all revenue leakages to collect appropriate duties and meet our target of N354 billion. So far we have collected N62 billion. NICIS II is an upgrade of NICIS I with more efficient and functional capabilities to enable Quick Cargo Clearances thereby reduces transaction cost. Stakeholders/officers are undergoing training for ease of Implementation and Migration”.