Clearing agents operating at the nation’s seaports have warned the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) not to make scanning of cargoes at the seaport cumbersome by insisting on 100 per cent physical examination of cargoes.
This is coming against the backdrop of the federal government’s deployment of scanning machines to Apapa, Tin-Can Island and Onne seaports to enhance trade facilitation.
In a chat with LEADERSHIP, the national vice president, Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, warned that corruption and “job for the boys” as it used to be during 100 per cent cargo examination should stop.
He, however, advised the Customs officers to put the nation’s interest first by ensuring reduction in cargo clearance procedures and quick exit of cargo from seaports.
“Now that we have scanning machines everywhere in the port, then we should reduce procedures of clearance at the ports. Once you make your declaration, make payment and as selectivity takes you to scanning and your cargo is scanned with no discrepancies, you should be allowed to exit the ports with your consignment.
“It is not a situation that it will be a job for the boys, I have to mention it because before you know it, you will see that scanning procedures will become cumbersome like a 100 percent examination,” he warned.
Explaining what he meant by “job for the boys”, Farinto said: “My fear is that after conducting examination and there is image analysis, whether there are discrepancies or not, you will see Customs dispatching your image analysis to DC scanning, DC scanning will dispatch to AC scanning, AC Scanning will dispatch to the officer at scanning site in a bid to ensure human contact with the clearing agents, then what’s the essence of going through scanning when it looks like running 100 per cent cargo examination?”
Farinto, however, called on the National Assembly to intervene in the issue of the alert placed on already cleared cargoes by the Apapa Command of the service.