By: Bon Peters, Port Harcourt
The Nigeria Customs Service Area 1 Command Port Harcourt has commenced what it termed stakeholders partnership on the training and retraining of its trading community with the aim to sensitize stakeholders on issues of non conformities with statutory procedures and other vices in Customs clearance processes.
The event which commenced last week in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital comes in phases to avail the Maritime operators especially the Association of Nigeria Licensed Custom Agents, (ANLCA), (NAGAFF,) Bonded Terminals operations, shipping agents among others the opportunity to learn the Customs procedure codes which would in turn ensure seamless clearance of containers at the ports.
In his opening remarks, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone C Customs headquarters in Port Harcourt, ACG Olugboyega Peters who expressed happiness with, the level of revenue profile of the Command, cooperation and synergy among the stakeholders and the Nigeria Customs Service said he was happy with the level of seamless operations the Command is enjoying with the stakeholders insisting that the essence of the gathering was to learn hence according to him, “there is no end to education.”
He went further to posit that people should continue to learn, adding that “learning stops when we have entered the grave.”
Speaking further, he said in Customs operations, the most important thing is transparency even as he charged the operators to be transparent in their declaration as such would ensure they exit their containers within 48 hours.
” If you’re doing the right thing, your consignment can leave the terminal within 48 hours,” Peters said.
Delivering the lecture, CSC, Joseph Atile said the objective of the interactive session was to enlighten, educate and create awareness and sensitize the service personnel and the trading community on the importance and use of correct Customs procedure as it affects imports, exports and transit operations with respect to commonly abused factors on declarations and customs procedure code (CPC) leading to huge loss of revenue. He insisted that to be a Licensed Custom Agents a basic sound knowledge of tools, processes and documentation is required, adding that agents should make training and retraining their watchword, even as he noted that they should embark on consultation and strict adherence to customs procedures, process and documentation.
In his contribution, the Customs Area 1, Controller, Comptroller CD Wada, admonished the stakeholders to build capacity and add value to themselves and their organizations, vowing to partner with the agents to train and retrain them. While reminding them on the cure mandate of Customs which he said included revenue generation trade facilitation and Anti smuggling, he said every genuine and compliant trader would enjoy trade facilitation but recalcitrant ones, even their agencies would be blocked from doing business.
Responding, on the impact of the training, Slot Bonded Terminal Manager, Mr. Fabian Nwanyanwu said the lecture was impactful as what customs was doing to the agents according to him was very much expected. “What customs is doing today is part of what they ought to do. The Nation is moving forward and customs should not be left behind, my prayer is that everybody should key in and learn since they have promised to be doing it regularly.”
Continuing, Nwanyanwu said, “I have learnt today that most of the applications we use during capturing are in error and as ACG Peters has said, you can’t apply anything you do not know” He insisted.
To comrade Ngozi Uzoho of NAGAFF, what the agents and custom did was to rob minds on compliance trade. According to him, “compliance is everybody’s game and once you comply, you help the Customs, yourself and the stabilization of the Nigerian economy.”
Written by Bon Peters, Port Harcourt