The Apapa Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service is set to act decisively on the many unutilised Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and unpaid assessment in the command. Already, there are over 1000 unutilised PAAR and the command may soon begin blocking of licenses of companies and subsequent arrest of the owners of the unutilized PAAR.
Making this known while answering questions raised by stakeholders at his maiden stakeholders’ meeting held at the command, Customs Area Controller, Comptr. Abubakar Bashir said that he expects to receive an official report on the status of unutilized PAAR in the command in writing before the week runs out.
Bashir however called on the companies, organizations as well as agents to any of the companies or organizations with records of un-utilized PAAR or unpaid assessment to come forward and check the record so as to take necessary action as according to him, he would soon act on the records.
He said,” When you have un-utilized PAAR or unpaid assessment, I don’t invite you because you know about it already, so there is no need for me to invite you, it’s just action. What is the action? One, blocking you, your company will not be able to carry any cargo in any of the ports in Nigeria. Two, if you don’t act again, find a way to go and seal up your company if you are the agent. If you are the importer, I seal off the company, arrest whoever I want to arrest because it amounts to economic sabotage.
“Please disseminate this information and you will be surprised you have an importation, the cargo you have not taken it, it is still in the port, meanwhile, your company’s name is in the list of those that have not utilized their PAAR or you have even done the assessment but simply because you are having one issue or the other with any of the stakeholders like the shipping companies or the terminal operators, you have not been able to take your cargo, in Customs circle, it will still be signaling to us that it has not been taken but you have done assessment, you have two problems now; one, you have done assessment, two, unutilized PAAR meanwhile, the cargo is still in the ports.
“So, as a professional, you need to understand what the turnaround date for qualification of overtime cargo is; it is twenty-eight days. Any cargo you have within any of the customs formations within Nigeria, after twenty-eight days, Nigeria Customs Service can take that cargo and write to the court and court will give us court condemnation and the Nigerian government has right over that cargo legally both in CEMA and through the Nigerian Constitution. Let us take not of that”.
On the NICIS II platform recently launched by the Service, the Customs Area Controller noted that the platform was at teething stage now, adding that currently, they had identified some other issues at the command as it relates to NICIS II which he said he was sending to the Comptroller General of Customs for consideration.