Nigerian, Korean Customs collaborate - THE NATION
by Muyiwa Lucas
korean Customs officials and a few consultants have completed a training tour of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and its operations in Abuja and Lagos.
The training, which covered areas, such as modernisation, E-customs and risk management, among other areas of operations, aimed at sharing the Korean experience with their Nigerian counterpart.
Leader of the delegation, Yeon Don Kim, told the Controllers of Customs at Murtala Mohammed Airport and Apapa Commands that the visiting team had spent three weeks at the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department of the Service at the Abuja Headquarters before coming to Lagos.
Areas visited included the Airport cargo handling section, Nigeria Breweries Factory, Apapa Customs Processing Centre, Don Climax Bonded Terminal and Lekki Free Zone.
At the Apapa Command, the Area Controller in charge, Mohammed Abba-Kura, said efforts were in top gear to sustain customs’ operations and stakeholder’s compliance with extant imports and exports guidelines.
He said the command resorted to physical examination of cargoes as a result of the failure of the scanner, while explaining the template on which imports and some consignments are profiled.
According to him, since there are no traders enjoying Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs) benefits in Nigeria presently, compliant traders profiled to be on fast track were placed on the blue lane and those selected by the system as compliant were on the green lane.
According to Abba-Kura, those on the blue and green lanes were people or organisations found to have built integrity through compliance over some period of time
Other categories, he explained, include Light Red indicating scanning; Deep Red, Physical Examination and Yellow for consignments, requiring documentary checks.
While conducting the Korean delegation round the Customs Processing Centre (CPC), Abba-Kura explained how modernisation has improved its standards from when it was called the Long Room to its present evolving and improving ICT supported state.
Under the present ICT-driven regime, the Apapa Area Controller said licensed customs agents and importers could make lodgements of their entries from the comfort of their offices electronically.
The system, according to him, is evolving to achieve faster and more seamless operations in the import process to minimise human contacts and achieve increased output, more revenue, time saving and better security.
On manifest collection and processing, Abba-Kura said the customs receives manifest electronically before embarking on what he described as ‘boarding and rummaging’.
He added that the boarding and rummaging activities entail customs officers going on board the vessel to compare and confirm information supplied on the manifest with what is on board of the ship.
Airport Command Controller, Jane Shoboiki, explained the speed and sensitive manner with which perishable imports are taking through at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, adding that revenue collection and trade facilitation are key components of her command’s work without compromising national security and interest.
Shoboiki took them through NAHCO and SAHCOL operational areas where she gave insights into cargo handling and processing at the airport.
She also explained security measures put in place to prevent and detect smuggling of any kind at the inbound and outbound passenger areas.
Murtala Mohammed Airport, according to her, handles Nigeria’s highest number of air cargoes and maintains high operational standards, striving to meet with and sustain expected quality of operations.
Lagos Industrial Command Area Controller, Comptroller Dangana Lot, led the team to the Iganmu factory of Nigeria Breweries Plc, which is one of it’s highest excise duty paying outfit. At the factory, the team witnessed, on first hand basis, the manufacturing process and how customs oversees the production process to ascertain accurate excise duty collection.
At a private bonded terminal, Don Climax Bonded Terminal, aimed at preventing port congestion and facilitating trade, it was disclosed that about N2.2 billion was said to have been realised at the terminal in 2018.
Containers are brought into this terminal under escort for duty payment through transire, a shipping document designating the consignment to be cleared at different ports or terminals other than the port of arrival.
According to the Terminal Manager, Ajibade Sherriff, Customs compares what is declared with what is actually in the cargoes, adding that the terminal has an online connection to Nigeria Customs Information System 2 (NCIS II) with over a hundred trucks used in conveying the containers from the port.
Sheriff added that there is a gate control where accurate inventory of consignment coming in and out are recorded in a completely automated process.
He also said despite being the owner of the terminal, Don Climax does not have absolute control of container and cargo movement in and out of the facility.
He said the company’s processes are transparent as containers moving from mother ports to the terminal are escorted by the Federal Operations Unit of the service under bond.
He added that no consignment exits it’s facility without first being exited by customs in its electronically controlled NICIS11 platform.