The executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello has raised the alarm over under-declaration of cargoes at the nation’s seaports by importers.
Speaking at the just concluded workshop organised by the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC) in collaboration with the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and hosted by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Bello said about 70 per cent of the cargoes imported into the Nigerian Seaports are under- declared.
Bello further stated that the adoption of technology and electronic platform in the Nigerian seaports will check the challenge of sharp practices at the ports. According to him, plans are underway in Nigeria to introduce the National Single Window Project which is an electronic platform to which all stakeholders in the port system will be connected and which is bound to check all forms of unwholesome practices like under-declaration of goods by importers and customs agents.
While he advised that shippers and freight forwarders must learn to be more sincere in their transactions in the import trade and at the seaports. He however said that the introduction of mobile scanners in the examination of goods by the Customs will also assist to detect and check fraudulent practices such under declaration and concealment among others.
However, Bello tasked the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to de-emphasised revenue generation and emphasize trade facilitation in its operations. The Shippers Council boss said that the observance of the virtue will not only increase the patronage of Nigerian seaports by shippers, customs agents and shipping companies but will enhance development at the ports and make their operations to be at par with obtains in ports in advanced countries.