Story by Dili Utomi.
With the commencement of the paperless system of the code 846 procedures of vehicle identification number (VIN) valuation on the 5th of December which took off from the Tincan command of the Nigeria Customs Service, the public relations officer of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Tin Can Island Command has in a press release said that the introduction of this system is a very welcome development in Customs operation. The PRO, Onome Joy Monije made this assertion while reviewing the operation of the code 846 and the general process of cargo clearance since the introduction of the system.
While noting that the action of the Controller General of Customs is commendable in using the Tin Can Island Command as the pilot area for the code 846 on digitalization of the non-standard vehicle clearance and its obvious smooth nature of vehicle clearance, they still do lament that this smoothness in operation can only be seen at the mother Port through the efficient activities of the Customs Area Controller’s team and that of the DC valuation too who seem to be up and doing, timely and with no human contact in the whole process. This process has also been variously praised as being seamless without any problems at the these locations, but the bonded terminals operating under the Command are still operating with the manual method of clearing such vehicles with so much stress and and a lot of human interference.
The freight forwarders therefore ask for proper direction from Comptroller Kunle Oloyede for the dissemination of information and the retraining of officers who are not well equiped with the right knowledge and also not ready to key into the modern trend and also ask him to set the yardstick to monitor those that are not also ready to move to the Customs Processing Centre. She noted that at this period when the Customs has taken over the management of the main server from Webb Fontaine, the adamant officers may slow the ease of doing business by remaining in their comfort zone thereby causing unnecessary demurrage for importers and stakeholders like was just witnessed last week.
Ms. Monije noted that the freight forwarders have kept their calm over the period, but paid through their noses just to show their support for the system to work, but also added that they may not condone such burden again. She noted that the Customs must from time to time inform stakeholders of all challenges and also carry along shipping and terminal operators for the necessary waiver when issues that are not caused by the freight forwarders occur to avoid any form of commotion. She echoed loudly that any organisation without the proper communication as well as following the laid down rules will not succeed. The ANLCA PRO appealed to the very proactive Customs Controller to give directive to the Strike force officers on the procedures to follow in the area of blocking of consignments within the Port.
She also appealed to all stakeholders to stick with the new code 846 of VIN valuation for the clearing of non-standard vehicles as she maintained that the system has been proven to be seamless and the CAC of the Command, a very astute professional who operates an open door policy in listening to the complaints and suggestions of all stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Comptroller Oloyede has promised to deal with those caught circumventing the newly introduced code 846 by suspending their licences, this is to deter others from engaging in such nefarious activities. It was reported that some freight forwarders were caught in the act of tampering with the figures given to them as duties to pay and this has drawn the angst of the usually calm Customs Area boss.
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