Importers witness cargo clearance delay at Apapa port

 internet network responsible – CAC 

By Gboyega Oni

Importers and customs agents on Tuesday May 21, 2018 experienced several hours of delay in having their cargo cleared at the nation’s major seaports in Apapa and Tin Can Island in Lagos as the Customs internet server went down thus impeding cargo documents processing.

This was disclosed by the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Jibrin Umar while addressing journalists on reasons for delay in cargo clearance at a media roundtable organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria in Apapa, Lagos.

Comptroller Jibrin Umar who was represented by Assistant Comptroller Muktar Yahaya, OC Customs Processing Centre, noted that the internet network breakdown as experienced by the Service could cause delay at anytime and was not the fault of the Service but that of a bad weather.

As at 3pm, the CAC, who admitted that there was delay in cargo release, said the command had not captured any importers for cargo release but was optimistic that the network would surge back and cargo clearance processing would commence immediately.

‘’We have not been able to work since morning as no importers have been captured. This is another delay; issuing debit note has become a problem. But the network will certainly come back and we will commence work immediately,’’ said he.

The CAC said the major reasons for delay were non-compliance with import guidelines, wrong classification and declaration by importers, and lack of working scanners.

He however absolved the Service of any complicity and maintained that the Service works based on procedure. ‘’Whatever we are doing is based on procedure and in accordance with the import laws. It is true that there is delay; if there are issues of infraction, there will be delay,’’ he said.

Comptroller Jibrin informed that the delay is also caused by lack of scanners, saying that all scanners in all the ports in Lagos have broken down completely except only one in Apapa which could not handle all cargo in the port and that is why many cargos are routed to physical examination.

According to him, ‘’scanners are not working; only one is working in Apapa, not one in Tin Can. The issue of scanners has to be settled and we have engaged government on it.’’

Advising importers and customs agents to adhere to the import guidelines, Jibrin noted that the security of nation towards the general elections in 2019 would not be compromised as the Service is working with other government agencies to protect the territorial boundaries of the nation.

 

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