Some port users at the Apapa and Tin-Can ports at the weekend revealed that cargo evacuation at the ports are very slow because cargoes must pass through 21 desks of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) before exiting the ports. This is even as the stakeholders said that after leaving the ports, the cargoes face another task of going through another five units of the NCS, which is permanently stationed outside the ports.
According to a cross section of the clearing agents who shared the list of the 21 Customs desks/units to newsmen at the weekend, these Customs desks slow down cargo evacuation because everybody wants to see what others have inspected.
A list of the 21 Customs desk stationed inside the ports and obtained by the Daily Sun are: Form M unit, PAAR unit, Unblocking unit, Abandoned unit, Examination/report unit, DC Report unit, Releasing unit, DC Stamping unit, Gate/Exiting unit, Valuation unit, CPC q and a unit, APM unit, DC Admin unit, DC Compliance unit, CAC monitoring unit, CIU unit, Enforcement unit, OC gate unit, Gate officers unit, Clearance unit and PCA unit. Reacting to the development, Spokesman of Nigeria’s second busiest Customs port command, Tin-Can Island Port Customs Command; Uche Ejesieme explained that some of the listed 21 interference units of the Customs are statutory while some are for checks and balancing.
He added: “First, it will be pertinent to acquaint us with the role of the Nigeria Customs Service in the trade value chain and even go further to point out the processes and procedures for a compliant trader. For the first, it may interest you to know that the role of customs is just limited to examination and release of cargoes. This is because the automated system allows for self-assessment/declaration by the importer or his agent.