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As part of efforts to clear the backlogs of consignments that have not been cleared in Pre-Arrival Assessment Reports (PAAR), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has introduced a special offer for consignees and agents operating at the Apapa Area command to tackle this delay.
This is coming even as importers and agents have lamented the adverse effect of the PAAR regime on clearance of goods at the port.
At a meeting with the representatives of the various freight forwarding associations including the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) as well as the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA), the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Charles Edike, announced that the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi has offered to grant importers whose PAARs have not been uploaded and consignments lying in the port between January and March 15th a special arrangement to clear their goods from the port.
“Any of the importers whose consignment falls into this category should send a letter to the CAC's office immediately and we will immediately perform physical examination on such consignment and release it”, he said.
Speaking shortly after the meeting with the agents, ASYCUDA Project Manager of the command, Yusuf Malanta, said the provision by the customs high command is strictly for importers who have difficulties generating their PAARs documents.
While explaining that the new arrangement should not be mistaken for provisional release, Malanta said the affected agents are required to apply to the CAC with evidence of all import documents from the bank after which examination will be conducted on the consignment.
Continuing, he said: “This arrangement is for those PAARs that have error, maybe error in transmission, or error in classification due to some teething problems, all these kind of issues is what we discussed and we have designed a way to solve the problem domestically here in Apapa.
“This has nothing to do with provisional release; the agents have to come with all their documents as evidence of transmission form the ban evidence of final documentation form the bank. The bank will now send to the CAC who will now delegates some officers to examine the cargo to know what the content of that cargo is. With the content of the cargo, a verdict will be reached on what is suppose to be the value and classification and that is why it encompasses valuation, CIU and terminal officers.
After examination, we come up with the result and we will release the cargo and send our verdict back to headquarters and they will close up the PAAR there”.
The Customs Chief maintained that only importers who are honest in their customs declarations will benefit from the provision.