By Bon Peters
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has promised continued stakeholder engagements to tackle challenges associated with faulty documentation, under-declaration, and wrong classification of goods.
Comptroller Chedi Wada of Port Harcourt Area 1 customs command stated this weekend at the second phase of a stakeholders sensitization and workshop organized for licensed customs agents and other critical Maritime operators in Port Harcourt the Rivers state capital.
He advised consignees to take advantage of the in-house routine training as part of efforts to help guard against breaches of customs procedures.
Recall that earlier, the Customs boss had engaged in an interactive session with other sister government agencies operating at the Port Harcourt ports, for effective collaboration and synergy to ensure a seamless port operation.
Such agencies include the Nigerian Ports Authority, the police, immigration, and NDLEA among others.
Speaking further, the Comptroller said that the command would not tolerate ignorance as an excuse in the event of faulty documentation or under-declaration.
According to him, the first phase of the sensitization conducted in the first quarter of the year had so far helped consignees reduce to the barest minimum, mistakes usually associated with documentation.
“It is clear that we cannot operate efficiently without organizing a forum of this kind as it allows us to discuss issues bothering on clearing and forwarding of goods.
“During interactions such as this, we can identify certain issues that may need some explanations, consignees are also given the opportunity to tender their day-to-day complaints while we proffer solutions to such complaints,” Wada said.
The customs boss also noted that the challenges of documentation can be effectively surmounted if agents equip themselves with an in-depth understanding of clearing procedures.
The Lecture ‘Enhancing Trade Integrity: A comprehensive understanding of customs declaration to counter abuse was presented by Mr. Babani Gambo who is also a Customs Chief Superintendent at the command.
Gambo, a general service duty officer and policy management analyst noted that the objective of the lecture was aimed at sensitizing the service Personnel and trading Community on the importance and use of correct customs procedures.
He noted that the session also seeks to educate consignees on commonly abused declaration factors such as Customs procedure code (CPC), false declaration, and undervaluation which contribute hugely to the loss of Customs revenue.
Meanwhile, the clearing agents have commended the customs for the transfer of knowledge and called for more cooperation to the ease of doing business as well as profitability.
They also lamented the poor state of the East-west road and Aba/Port Harcourt road urging the federal government to redouble efforts towards repairs to foster business growth at the Eastern ports.