Committee To Boost Customs Welfare Package

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The Presidential Task force on Customs Reform says it will transform the welfare system of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

The chairman of the committee Dr. Ochi Adriniru said  this  recently in Lagos while on a tour of Apapa Customs Command. He said the committee would harmonise all existing reports on Customs reforms and come up with a blue print for implementation.

According to him, the challenges of risk management, Customs procedures and screening  of cargoes are very critical in other to give a better risk management module for the service.

We recommend  introduction of other modules in the cargo screening process whereby arms and other dangerous goods  could be identified” Achiniru said, adding that Customs as a service that does  valuation and classification, should be able to do this to a high degree. Adiniru said the committee would suggest a transition management process for the service to take over from the service providers by year 2011.

“We want Customs officers to be embedded in each location where service providers are” he said, noting that the committee would  recommend theoretical and on the job trainings for officers and men of services. The committee’s  chairman said, the committee would recommend better living standards for officers and men of the services saying that the official quarters  at the border station were terrible.

He, however, commended the comptroller-general of Custom Alhaji Dikko Abdullahi,  whom he described as “being so reform-oriented” and for imbibing all the suggestions the committee had been making.

In his address, the Comptroller, Apapa  Customs command, Adbulkadir Azarema said the service had streamlined and harmonised car clearance procedures in line with the World Customs Organisation’s requirements to achieve the 48 hours cargo clearance time.

Azarema, who was represented by the deputy comptroller, Administration, Mahmoud Dalhatu said it took more than 48-hour to get goods out of the port because some importers had intention of short paying the duty.

He mentioned the challenges of risk management and said risk management had been an effective tool for monitoring all import and export transactions.

Azarema, however, explained that Port environment was littered with so many government agencies, adding that the average importer had to contend in dealing with all the agencies in clearing their goods.

“This situation is a major source of delay” the comptroller said, Azarema also told the members of the presidential taskforce command that men of the service had been trained on cargo screening techniques by Cotecna Destination Inspection Ltd.

He said  the trained officers had become proficient in different aspects of screening procedures including operations and maintenance of scanners, systems operations and image analysis.

Cotecna is responsible for operating fixed and mobile scanners in  Apapa port. The area comptroller said scanning had the advantage of speedy clearance of cargo out of the port, adding that larger volume of cargo could be handled per unit of time.

Azarema also said through scanning, there would be increase in revenue generation due to large volume of container handled.

He added that scanning combats smuggling by exposing the concealments.

The comptroller said scanning also simplified and harmonised customs clearance procedures in line with international best practices.

He explained that the training was also part of the capacity building and professionalism for Customs officers.