The fight against rising insecurity is the country may have taken a more drastic measure as President Mohammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi to reintroduce Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) in a bid the to checkmate the proliferation of arms and ammunition across the nation.
The intervention is believed to coming on the backdrop of President Buhari’s conviction that the implementation of CTN will be highly instrumental in addressing the myriads of security challenges, ranging from banditry, kidnappings and restiveness fueled by easy access to guns.
Acordingly, the Transportation Minister has further directed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to commence preparation to undertake the responsibility of driving the new policy. The Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), otherwise also referred to as the Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN) is a system that subjects imports to prior supply of relevant documents and information, in advance of the arrival of ships. The process also allows enhances statistics and security measures, aligns with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) trade facilitation and enhanced security needs.
Expectedly, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council under the watch of Hassan Bello, an undisputable apostle of ports and efficient shipping development is poised to drive a CTN that is both business efficient and friendly, a system that will encourage business competitiveness, and enable the nation to track imports from ports of origin, while drastically reducing import of arms and ammunition.
Recall that in 2017 alone, 2671 pump-action rifles were intercepted across various seaports nationwide. Some of the guns were legally registered for export in Turkey as pump-action rifles for hunting but the manifests were changed in Morocco to become steel doors to enable the container gain entry into Nigeria.
With CTN, however, Nigeria would have been able to see the original manifests from Turkey and intercept the guns before the consignments arrives Nigeria.
Twenty-four African countries presently use CTN and these nations include; Angola, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana and Guinea.
Others include; Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Togo.
Although CTN has had two stints at Nigerian ports previously, under the administration of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and later NSC, Nigeria would have to prequalify the possible companies via a bidding process.
Speaking on the reintroduction of CTN, a maritime lawyer, technocrat and Director of Education and Research in the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Dr. Alban Igwe said CTN remains the best answer to issues of anomalies and security challenges in the country.
Igwe explained that this was because CTN will improve the security and safety of the supply chain as it will profile cargoes being imported into the country.
He said, “The objective is to improve the security and safety of the supply chain and help us see the profile of products we are bringing in. It will help us know the origin and destination of cargoes and help us know our enemie.”
Besides insecurity, CTN has also been described as the best platform in checking revenue leakages in imports as well as obtaining information about the content of the cargoes.
CTN is also expected to address situations in which importers under-invoice their goods from the suppliers at the point of purchases, ostensibly to promote underpayment of customs duties and other levies. The platform will check the trend to ensure manifests are not tampered with by ships for the purpose of cheating on GT.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, whose Council is to handle CTN describes it as “another instrument that will add tremendously in shipping development”.
According to Bello, “It will boost the revenue of the government in customs revenue collection in the sense that it will abate under – declaration and concealment. It will boost the revenue of NPA because there will be no more alteration of the manifests. It will boost the revenue of NIMASA because under – declaration on the weight of ships will not be there any longer.”
CTN is also a veritable source of data and some economic experts describe this as the best quality of the electronic based platform.
“You will know everything that is coming into your country. We have had many African countries having this because it is the initiation of the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC),” the NSC boss said about CTN last year.