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Shippers Council, Customs partner to ensure compliance to e-Platform

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[FILES] Electronic Customs platform is the appropriate technology that will gladden the hearts of many, as synergy among the regulators. Photo: PIXABAY

To boost Federal Government’s revenue drive, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), have partnered to ensure shippers complied with procedures at the seaports to curb unnecessary delays in cargo clearing. 
Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello, during a courtesy visit to on the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), yesterday, in Abuja, pointed out that low compliance rate among shippers often caused a delay in cargo clearing, but the partnership among regulatory agencies would further ensure proper compliance. 

He said: “We represent the shippers, but we also know that compliance is a serious problem. If all the shippers would comply, then, there won’t be delays. It is to avoid the tax or customs duty that has really caused low compliance; and that is what we are really going to focus on this year, to work with the Customs to ensure compliance.”

Bello expressed the readiness of the Council to assist the NCS in achieving its N1.6trillion revenue target in 2020.  “The target, as we heard, is for you to generate about N1.6trillion, and you’ve already said you’re going to generate N2trillion. We are here to assist you in generating even more than the N2trillion,” he stated. 

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According to him the Electronic Customs platform is the appropriate technology that will gladden the hearts of many, as synergy among the regulators – Customs, Nigerian Ports Authority, NSC and others would ensure compliance. 

The NSC boss applauded the Customs’ performance on Ali’s watch, saying: “With the temporary closure of Nigerian land borders, Nigerians have seen the relevance of NCS to the economy. It has brought international acknowledgment of the integrity and honesty displayed by the Customs boss.”

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Ali, in his remarks said they are ready to collaborate with the Council to sensitise, stakeholders on the importance of compliance, which had become Nigeria’s biggest problem in terms of trade.

He said: “We have the habit of wanting to short-change the government and the system. Our mentality of compliance is zero. We must find a model for enforcing compliance; there must be sanctions. I think that is the only way to ensure compliance.’’
As a result, the two helmsmen agreed on the need to give shippers a new orientation on compliance.

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“A discourse on compliance will go a long way, and we look forward to cooperating with you (NSC), to ensure that a forum is organised to make our people aware,” Ali stated.

He recalled that at a recent meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, it was agreed that the E-Customs would be the main platform for the single window, which would be a warehouse for everybody to key into for information and for transacting business in Nigeria.
 

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“What is required from all other agencies, including the Shippers’ Council, is to develop their own technology platform and then key into the E-Customs platform. All those already in our platform will be integrated into this, but it will require a lot of technology; it will require robust platforms for agencies to key into that system and use it successfully.”

Ali promised to fast-track the MoU between the Customs and the Council, adding that NCS would up its game to ensure every container being transported in and out of Nigeria was duly protected.

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