The Ogun State Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has become the first command of the service to achieve one hour clearance of cargos from neighbouring countries through the idiroko border.
This is against the backdrop of the previous one week time-frame it took to complete the process of taking imports out of the Command from Benin Republic, and other West African countries.
BusinessWorld intelligence gathered that most consignments, especially vehicles, bearing correct declarations through self-assessment by importers or agents for payment of import duties, are promptly processed by the Customs personnel through the Automated System for Customs Data Plus-Plus (ASYCUDA++).
“Once a particular cargo has been valued, scanned and the correct import duties recorded as having been paid on the consignment, while no discrepancies are detected during the examination process, the cargo is then immediately released to the consignee or the agent”, an elated customs officer at the border post conferred.
Confirming this new development which has never been achieved in the history of the command, Jude Okoye, a freight forwarder practicing at the border post informed that vehicles can now be cleared through the Idiroko border post in just one hour. “Once the declarations for the payment of import duties are properly done and the cargo does have issues about concealment and other shortcomings, it is promptly released by the customs. This has never happened before in the history of this command and we thank the controller for making this possible”, he pointed out.
To comptroller (Prince) Ade Dosunmu, controller of the command, he is just carrying out the mandate of Dr. Abdullahi Dikko Inde, comptroller general of customs, who according to him provided all the machineries for a seamless trade facilitation.
“The effective use of ASYCUDA++ and the cargo scanning machine facilitated the improvements recorded in goods clearance at the Command. Idiroko border post is the only one out of similar outposts in Nigeria currently, where you can make your correct self-assessment and have your documents processed, for the clearing of your goods within an hour”, he stated.
Adding that the encouragement given the personnel by the Command since his assumption of office as the controller of the command has served as an impetus for them to be more committed and effective in doing their jobs. This and many more is justifying the increases in their salaries and improvements in their welfare, as well as other incentives, by the comptroller-general of customs.
Dosunmu said the fact that he has keyed into the seven-point agenda of the Dr. Abdullahi (CFR) has made it possible for him to ensure that the command’s operations were carried out at a faster pace, so as to encourage more importers to use the border post and thus increase the revenue accruing to the Federal Government from imports.
He assured that once an agent or importer does the self assessment correctly at the Idiroko Data Trade Input (DTI), with a view to paying the right import duty on the cargo, there would be no basis for any delay on the part of the Command in ensuring that the consignment is promptly cleared. Pointing out that inasmuch as the Customs personnel have the requisite up-to-date training and are more committed to their work, while new strategy to enhance clearing of goods has been introduced, goods would certainly be cleared within an hour at the Command.
Dosunmu disclosed that since officers have been warned against undue delays in attending to documents, while bottlenecks militating against speedy clearance of cargoes have also been eliminated, the Command is already working towards completing the clearing process in less than an hour.
He commended the Customs chief for the improvements recorded by the Command in its operations, noting that the provision of adequate logistics by the Customs Headquarters facilitated these, even as he appealed that the Area needed more encouragement to enhance its performance.
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