Since the collapse of scanners at the nation’s seaports and land borders, the Nigeria Customs Service has been using manual method(100 percent examination) to inspect cargoes but experts believe that re-introduction of CTN at the ports would minimise the high incidence of insecurity through curbing of importation of arms and ammunitions through our ports into the country.
In 2015, the Nigerian Shippers Council was desirous to re-introduce the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) into the nation’s maritime industry.
But, the Council at that time was interested in the overall national security and safety of Nigerians because it is believed that the CTN will help check importation of arms, ammunition and hazardous materials into the country.
For instance, in January 2017, the Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) intercepted 49 boxes containing 661 pieces of pump action rifles.
Thee boxes were concealed with steel and other merchandise goods.
Also in May, 2017, another 440 pump action rifles were intercepted at the Tin Can Island Command, Lagos.
According to the then Zonal Co-ordinator of the Zone, Monday Abue, the cargo was shipped into the country from Turkey and concealed in POP.
On the 7th of September, 2017 another 1,100 rifles were further intercepted in a 20ft container with No GESU2555208 during examination, while the Bill of Lading falsely indicated wash hand basins and water closets.
However, 2018 was not spared as the Customs Service intercepted live ammunitions at the Tin-Can island port.
The Tin-Can Island Command of the service said the live ammunitions were concealed in a vehicle and container at the Lagos Port.
It was gathered that the interception were done in two different operations on the 9th and 10th of July respectively.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the command, Uche Ejiesieme , the first incident at the Terminal ‘C’, involved 1 x 40ft container No. TGHU 60143419, which on scheduled examination was found to contain 150 rounds of live ammunition and jack knives while 149 rounds of 38mm calibre live ammunition, 92 rounds of 9mm calibre live ammunition, 2 rounds Of 7.62MM calibre live ammunition, 11 cartridges of live ammunition,12 expenses empty shells of various calibre and one empty magazine were uncovered in another vehicle.”
This is part of the few interceptions that were made by the service while many more may have eluded the eagle eye of the customs service.
But, stakeholders have argued that the CTN, if it had been implemented in 2015 ,would have detected the contrabands before it was loaded on vessels to Nigeria.
Even, the Central Bank of Nigeria agreed that the CTN would not only checkmate under declaration and share trade information but will also assist the Nigeria Customs Service to risk mitigation on imports, enhance and block revenue leakages at the ports.
Speaking, a frontline Importer, Ikechukwu Shedrack ,said the CTN would serve as a security measure to ensure safety and security of goods shipped from one part of the world to another.
“It is meant to be implemented worldwide. The regulation requires shippers to have a Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) accompanying all shipments.
“The CTN will help enhance security at a time Nigerian government is have difficulties in replacing obsolete scanners at the ports. It will give information of cargoes to be imported even before loading and it will help know what should be imported and what not to be imported into the country, especially if it were to be arms and ammunitions it will be intercepted at point of loading”
“Aside under declaration, the CTN will also bring trade information.
Research had also shown that the CTN, when reintroduced, is different from the old ways of monitoring cargoes as it has four distinct features from the previous tracking device.
It is noteworthy that, as can be seen from the agreement, four important features distinguish the current ICTN Scheme from the abolished version.
That is, the current scheme will be implemented at no cost to the shipper/consignee, at all and the current scheme is web based and therefore paperless,thus making the delay associated with obtaining Cargo Tracking Note and associated documentation by Shippers, under the abolished version of the scheme completely eliminated as the shipper needs not do anything apart from declaring in advance (i.e. at the loading port), information relating to the cargo.
Also, the one hundred and fifty dollars ($150) per container CTN fee charged under the abolished version, paid by the shippers, which led to the stakeholders vehement protest against the scheme and its eventual abolishment, was radically modified and reduced to a token administrative fee of twenty five dollars ($25) per container, thereby making it the lowest in our West and Central African Sub-region.
The NSC-TPMS Sharing Ration of the collectible Administrative fee was negotiated and reviewed from 60-40, under the abolished scheme, to 65-35 thereby raising the share accruable to the government.
Also, all vessels loading and unloading or in transit (Export/Import and Transit) departing from Nigeria Ports or having Nigerian Ports as final destination or transiting through Nigerian ports shall, before any movement, obtain a Movement Reference Number (MRN).
He said, “The Cargo Tracking Note would soon be reintroduced at a very negligible cost. CTN is a security thing because when we have it, there won’t be smuggling of firearms and all other contrabands.
Bello stated further that the CTN would also help the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fight substandard products and fake drugs respectively.
“I am calling on all the port stakeholders such as manufacturers, shippers and the rest to support this. That is why the Nigerian Shippers Council wants to develop the port community system because what the port needs is unity.
WCO accredits Qatar’s Customs training Centre as regional facility
The World Customs Organisation (WCO) has accredited the Customs Training Centre of the Qatar General Authority of Customs (GAC) as a regional training centre, according to an official statement.
The GAC and the WCO signed a memorandum of understanding through a video conference, accrediting the centre as working with the latest internationally approved training specifications.
In his speech on this occasion, GAC chairman Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Jamal said this is an exceptional event in view of the importance that the authority attaches to the role of training in preparing and developing the cadres.
“The accreditation also comes in recognition of the importance of strengthening the building of human resources, capabilities and raising the efficiency of customs administrations in the countries of the region to carry out their tasks and responsibilities effectively.
This, he said was critical, especially in light of the increase in the volume of global trade and the change in its patterns, and the need for more facilitation procedures, which requires enhanced international and regional cooperation and to build capacity in accordance with best practices and international standards.
Al-Jamal said that the accreditation of the training centre as a regional training centre is the result of the continuous achievements it has made since its establishment in 2007.
“It has a rich balance of experience in organising high-level regional workshops,” he noted.
“The capacity of the customs cadres in Qatar will be a qualitative addition and a distinctive contribution to building and strengthening the capabilities of customs personnel in the countries of the region.”
WCO Secretary-General, Dr Kunio Mikuriya lauded the Qatar Customs Training Centre’s achievement, and the efforts and co-operation of the GAC during the past 10 years, especially in the field of online training courses.
“The WCO has great expectations that this centre will be a leader and pioneer in the region and a distinguished role model for customs administrations across the world,” he said.
Director of the Customs Training Centre and regional co-ordinator of the Capacity Building Programme, Mubarak Ibrahim al-Buainain, said that the project to establish a regional centre was a specific goal for the GAC, with the authority, having taken steps to implement the requirements of the WCO in light of the increasing challenges facing customs authorities and administrations.
He explained the importance of this regional centre in enhancing and upgrading the requirements of the capacity building programme.
The centre will have an important role in coordinating and cooperating with relevant regional and international organisations and institutions, and building bridges based on securing specialised programmes to create a generation of qualified workers in various customs specialities.
Al-Buainain thanked the GAC chairman and other officials for their support of the Customs Training Centre.
He also thanked all the centre’s employees for their continuous efforts.
Customs warns job seekers of activities of internet fraudsters
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has warned the public against the activities of internet fraudsters extorting innocent individuals seeking employment into the service.
NCS Public Relations Officer, Comptroller Joseph Attah, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Attah noted that the service recruitment platform was opened for two weeks in December 2021, and had closed.
He said the mandatory six months basic training for the successfully enlisted candidates into the service commenced on Jan. 10.
“Anywhere you see any link saying you should pay any amount for NCS recruitment/training programme, it is not from the customs.
“All those who claim they paid certain amounts of money for the training programme are all victims of “419” otherwise known as fraudsters because our link was opened for two weeks and has been closed.”
He said the service would continue to sensitise the public on such acts, to discourage people from patronising such fraudsters.
“Why would somebody give you a private account to pay a certain amount of money into, for a recruitment or training programme and you will pay into that account. People should be wise and flee from such,” he advised.
Some of the victims of the NCS recruitment scam said that they were fleeced by the fraudsters, who asked them to pay N40, 000 for the exercise.
One of the female victims, who preferred to be anonymous, stated that she paid N40,000 to a private account for the exercise.
It could be recalled that Attah had announced in a statement on Dec. 30, that the six months basic training for the enlisted candidates into the service would commence on Jan. 10, in its training colleges in Kano and Lagos.
Nigeria Customs increases revenue target for 2022 by 300 percent over 2021 target
—-sets N4.1 trillion revenue target for 2022 as against N1.679 trillion in 2021
—-as Apapa command collects N870.388 billion in 2021.
The Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has continued to push the frontier of revenue generation of the service when it grossed a princely sum of N870.388 billion in 2021.
This is even as the Customs High command has increased the 2022 revenue target by about 300 percent when it set N4.1 trillion as revenue target for the year.
It could be recalled that the Service set the sum of N1.679 trillion as its revenue target for 2021 but realised the sum of N2.3 trillion.
Addressing the press Thursday in Lagos, the Area Controller of Apapa Command of NCS, Comptroller Yusuf Malanta Ibrahim, disclosed that the command achieved a 68 percent increase in 2021 revenue over the previous years despite the enormous challenges faced in the trade supply chain which were occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic, high cost of fright, incessant traffic gridlock, rail construction through the Port as well as the low compliance level of some stakeholders.
The command realised the sum of N870.388 billion in 2021 as against the sum of N518.046 billion realised in 2020.
On the anti-smuggling operations, the command made a total seizure of 103 with a Duty Paid Value of N31.227 billion.
Some of the seized items include the 46.55kg of Cocaine concealed on vessels MV KARTERIA and MV CHAYANEE NAREE laden with raw sugar.
Other seized items are containers of foreign parboiled rice, tomatoes paste, second-hand clothing, unregistered pharmaceuticals like Captagon pills, Tramadol, Codeine syrup, etc.
On exports, the command, in the year under review, handled five million, three hundred and eighty metric tonnes of export cargo as against one million, three hundred metric tonnes of export cargo treated in 2020.
This was about a 110 percent increase in tonnage above the previous years.
According to Comptroller Yusuf, who was giving details of the activities of the command in 2021, the Free on Board (FOB) value for the exported items rose from $340million in 2020 to $641 million in 2021 with the naira equivalent of N245 billion.
He said that the increased export cargo treated at the command in 2021 was due to the sustained trade facilitation strategies put in place at the command, which he believed had a positive impact on export trade.
Malanta, while lauding the commitment and dedication of men and officers of the Command, declared that the Command is poised to surpass these laudable feats in 2022.
“We have diligently strengthened our risk assessment capacity through forensic system audit and dispute resolution procedures in accordance with the World Customs Organisation ( WCO) standard.
“Trade disputes were amicably resolved in an atmosphere that promoted compliance with visible results in higher revenue, indicating less cost of doing business and seizures” the Apapa Customs Chief noted.
He also acknowledged the robust industrial harmony and seamless synergy with all the Government agencies, shipping companies, terminal operators as well as the Port landlord, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
He said this harmonious collaboration has helped the command in no small measures to record the unprecedented achievements in 2021.
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