D/I extension: Stakeholders call for transition committee
By Godfrey Bivbere
Stakeholders in the maritime industry have called on the Federal Government to constitute a committee to work out smooth transition of scanning functions from the Service Provider to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the end of the six months extension.
Some of the stakeholders who spoke with Vanguard noted that unless such a committee is put place quickly, the extension period may be fruitless.
National President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. Eugene Nweke, said there is need for government to set up a committee to ensure smooth transition at the end of the extension.
Nweke also stressed the need for Customs to have a rethink about its decision to suspend the implementation of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR). He explained that there is need for the Service to continue running the programme along with the Risk Assessment Report (RAR) so that operators would be used to it by the time the extension expires.
Similar, the National Secretary of National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Uchu Block, wondered why Customs would suspend PAAR in the first place if they are serious about taking over the function.
Block advised the Service to meet with government, Service Providers and other relevant stakeholders to fashion out ways of operating PAAR along side the present system, so that both can be harmonized at the end of the extension.
An official of one of the Service Providers called for the federal government to establish a transition monitoring group, made up of those knowledgeable in the trade and those with relevant experience to monitor the transition processes. They advised that members of the group should be those that are truly committed to the Nigerian Project and those who honestly wish that Nigeria gets it right within the extension period.
They stressed the need for the Scanning Service Providers to work closely with the officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service to fully impart the technical knowledge required whilst officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service are expected to see the Scanning Service Providers as partners in progress and willingly collaborate with them to achieve the anticipated objectives.
According to the Service Provider, “Six months, we believe is a very short period to achieve this, but the transition monitoring group should be left to determine the appropriate time schedule for the transition to be fully accomplished.”
They explained that but for the extension, those who have negotiated trade instruments were at sea as to what becomes of their goods that were in transit to Nigerian Ports while others who were still negotiating some trade deals were confused as to what constitutes authentic documents for international trade with the Nigerian trading community, the Service Provider concluded.
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