Customs’ Mulls New Policies To Actualize Current Trade Tools, Models
BY FUNMI ALUKO
The leadership and management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have indicated the emergence of new fiscal policies that will provide fresh impetus and drive customs trade in accordance with prevailing trade models, extant laws and operational tools; all of which are aimed at enhancing service delivery.
Above which is the outcome of a roundtable interactive session with maritime and excise stakeholders carried out during the just concluded 2023 CGC’s Conference held in Lagos, aim to achieve lasting solution to issues facing clearance processes in ports across the country; the customs service said.
To match words with actions, the NCS management has reportedly established a panel encompassing stakeholders’ representatives and the Nigeria Customs Service to address concerns believed to be hindering effective port operations and to achieve cumulative recommendations, designed to be carried out by 1st quarter of the new year, 2024.
Customs National Public Relations Officer, CSC Addullahi Maiwada in a statement said the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR who presided at the meeting clarified that concerns such as multiple alerts, frequent downtime of CPC, numerous checkpoints, and difficulty accessing ports, among others, have been established in previous meetings as the next phase of attention with set time bound solutions.
Maiwada informed that the meeting which was held in Lagos on Friday, 15th December 2023 was part of activities for the just concluded CGC’s Conference, 2023, was attended by senior serving and retired Customs Officers, Terminal Operators, Freight Forwarders, Licensed Customs Agents, and Representatives of Excise Stakeholders, among others; was designed to create a platform for interaction and to identify the way forward for improved Customs operations.
The statement quoted the CGC as saying: “Issues have been openly discussed. The main ones facing cargo clearance will be addressed by collaborating with key stakeholders on building a framework for the way forward to these outlined hurdles.
“There will be a commitment to the creation and implementation of new policies that are in line with decisions that are taken today, and these approaches will be time bound to ensure we achieve the wanted objective soon.
“A panel was set up encompassing representatives of stakeholders and the Nigeria Customs Service to address the concerns hindering effective port operations and achieve cumulative recommendations, which will be carried out by 1st quarter of 2024.”
Comptroller Dera Nnadi, who was part of the panelists, encouraged port users and stakeholders during the meeting to optimize weekend operations; he also encouraged the use of barge without making it a commercial process.
This is even as stakeholders appreciated the CGC for bringing back the Services’ Annual Conference while expressing readiness to always work with Customs.
The President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Tochukwu Ezeisi, said, for the first time in years, freight forwarders are happy because “our issues are being discussed and decisions are taken immediately. CGC Adewale has shown seriousness in achieving his three-point agenda by bringing back this Conference, which is an avenue to listen to stakeholders, and we are ready to always work with the Service”, he said.
Also speaking, Alhaji Kazeem Isa Adua, the Deputy President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) said, “The CGC has done well in organizing this Conference and with the positive body language seen today, we should expect smooth and optimized clearance process soon”.