- As Command trains senior officers on trade facilitation
As part of efforts to enhance the ease of doing business at Tin Can Island Port (TCIP), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has revealed plans to introduce an automated process for transire operations at the port.
The Area Controller, TCIP, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, disclosed this on Monday during a training workshop for Assistant Controllers and Deputy Controllers at the Customs Command.
Nnadi, who explained that transire operation is a process that encourages movement of containers from the mother port to bonded terminals, free trade zones, or importer’s premises for fast track, emphasized that the idea is primarily to decongest the port.
His words: “This transire process is mostly manual at the moment, in the sense that you load the container onto the truck, you fill forms, everything is done physically. By automating, what we want to do is to, at least for a start, record the number of containers going out on a digital database instead of only recording them on the hardcopy notebooks. In addition to the hardcopy notebooks, we will also record them on the computer.”
“When the consignments get to the destination, we also automate the certificate for that. So, you don’t need to wait for somebody to bring the physical one to you. As the container is landed in the terminal, a notification will hit your email address, or whatever site you want. This automation will improve efficiency in the port. It will also guarantee security such that nobody will steal container or divert container. Now, we know that this will not be 100% secure from the outset and that’s why we also recommend tracking of the containers on the escort, so that nobody will have reasons to say, I didn’t know where the container entered. You should track your location, or your diversion.”
According to the Customs boss, the training programme for senior Customs officers at the Command was to drive home the need for trade facilitation and to bring the officers up to speed with the dynamic policy and economic changes in the nation.
Nnadi observed that with the port and the international trade being dynamic with frequent government policy changes and new economic developments, Customs officers have to be trained to handle the new realities.
“For those that we are regulating, for those that we are encouraging to be compliant and pay correct duties, they are also updating their skills in carrying out their trade. Therefore, we need to bring ourselves at par with the developments, including teaching our officers how to encourage compliant traders and also letting the officers know how to face the non-compliant ones with a view to making them become compliant and recovering not only government remittances, but also prioritizing national security,” he said.
Stressing that there are some challenges created by the stakeholders for which customs are supposed to surmount, he assured that the Command will host similar lectures and workshops to address the issues and have both Customs and port users in sync.
“If we facilitate trade for a trader, and the trader saves money from demurrage, he reduces the cost of that particular good, and it’s affordable. So, the majority of people have something for themselves. At the same time, if I release cargo for a manufacturer speedily, as an industrialist he saves money that will be added this overhead gain, which we will easily go into employing more people, or expanding his business. For the number of people that the company takes out of the streets, into the company and pays salary, they are added value to the nation. This addresses national security fueled by unemployment. If you add value, people pay tax. From the tax they pay, the government provides for our security agencies and the military, the government provides roads, electricity and other basic social amenities. So, we can see that Customs have something to do with it.” Comptroller Nnadi explained.