The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has promised to address all complaints against its handling of port operations but appealed to aggrieved persons and other stakeholders to comply with the trade policies.
The NCS also cleared the air on the misconception surrounding the alleged multiplicity of operation units at the Lagos ports, which stakeholders claimed are a contravention of the Kyoto Convention on trade facilitation.
When The Guardian visited the Tin-Can Island Port (TCIP) Customs Command to confirm the allegations and inspect activities, there was a beehive of activities, as it is known to be Nigeria’s second busiest Customs port command.
Speaking, with The Guardian during the visit, the Spokesman of the Tin-Can Island Port (TCIP) Customs Command, Uche Ejesieme, said the petition from the aggrieved stakeholders have been received. He said that the NCS has engaged relevant commands to find lasting solutions to all legitimate complaints/accusations in order to facilitate trade across the country.
On the alleged 21 interference units of Customs, Ejesieme explained that some of them are statutorily required for documentation, monitoring and regulations. He added that the involvement of other units was usually on demand.
He said the World Customs Organisation (WCO), in one of the conventions, had mandated all customs administrations to put modalities in place to monitor compliance with physical policies to ensure the facilitation of legitimate trade.
Ejesieme further explained that the role of the NCS in trade facilitation was limited to examination and release of cargo as the automated system guarantees self-assessment/declaration by the importers or their agents. He said operators should comply with the process.
He said the reason for the delay experienced in the clearing process is as a result of a false declaration of the value of consignment as well as documentation by importers and their agents.
“Whatever you declare would be captured and treated as such except a physical examination shows otherwise,” he said.