Rating of Nigerian customs worrisome
By Uchenna Eletuo
Nigerians have continued to pour uncomplimentary reactions to the recent world rating that placed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at number 110 on the ladder.
The rating was based on administrative efficiency and border management aimed at trade facilitation and national security.
The World Bank ranked NCS low in efficiency and other indices of operational standards.
Nigeria took the 110 place out of the 160 countries.
The report for the West African sub-region, showed that Cote D Ivoire clinched the top position as the best performing country in trade logistics with a global ranking of 50.
Mr Increase Uche, President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos that NCS global rating was regrettable.
“When you come the ports to do your cargo clearing, the service seems to be confused with what to do in order to transact clearing jobs.
“Regrettably, the ratings, such as this to a large extent determines the calculations of trading partners to a country as the shipping world will factor in all the pros and cons to maximise profit.
“The NCS Act that is still in use at the ports was enacted in 1958; there is need to amend it in line with current global trend.
“Most of the reforms that the service brings on board such as Nigeria Customs Service System (NICSS 11), an automation platform meant to ease transaction at the ports are not working.
“Port users are daily suffering for no cause of theirs while the shipping companies are ripping us off with demurrage,” Uche said.
Meanwhile, the Apapa NCS Area Customs Comptroller Abubakar Bashir has urged shippers to make proper declaration of their cargo during documentation.
According to him, compliance with such regulation will fast-track ports transactions and reduce cargo dwell time.
The customs chief decried constant system breakdown in the port and promised stakeholders that the issue would be improved upon.