By Gboyega Oni
In view of prevailent importation of arms and ammunition and offensive goods into the country, a call has gone to the Federal Government to accelerate the implementation of Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), which, it is said, is very critical to enable transparent manifests of cargo coming to the country.
Also government security agencies – customs, Standards Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Organisation of Nigeria (SON) – and stakeholders must collaborate in the fight against illicit trade and Customs and other regulatory agencies should be equipped with modern devices that could detect offensive materials and illegal substances i.e. immobile and mobile scanners.
The call was contained in a letter written to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs, Col. Hameed Ali by the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).
The association, in the letter signed by Mr. Dipo Olayoku, Secretary General of NAGAFF, said that government must sanitize the cargo clearance process and customs licensing regulation and ensure that declarant for customs purposes shall be a natural person. “This shall enable integrity of declarant to serve as a crash barrier to revenue fraud.”
While calling for review the use of form ‘M’ for imports into Nigeria, NAGAFF noted that government should provide facilities for pre scanning of cargo at the sea side during the discharge from vessels to reduce the dwell time of cargo at the ports as well as reviving the selectivity profiling mode of the ASYCUDA for reliability and transparency.
According to the association, “implement the ISPS Code on advance cargo manifest initiative from the country of origin to destination before the arrival of the vessel. Nigeria defence attaches at the countries of exportation are strategic to ensure due process and compliance.”
As part of efforts to sanitise the industry, NAGAFF called for enact of legislation that are in consonance with the current global trend in trade practices and review the activities of the shipping lines. “All carriers must be liable for the importation of offensive items in accordance with extant laws and regulations.
“SON, NAFDAC and NCS must adopt the principles of corrective approach to trade disputes/sanctions in line with trade facilitation. There scope of operation and relevance in sampling products must be harmonised to enable avoidable conflict in cargo clearance.
“Intelligence planning, control and coordination and monitoring by the office of the National Secretary Adviser (NSA) to comprise of the Armed Forces, Police, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Immigration Service, DSS and National Drug law Enforcement Agency. Filing reports of every manifest and profiling i.e. intelligence gathering,” said NAGAFF, who also called for comprehensive implementation of destination inspection by the Customs.