The Zonal Coordinator, Zone `A’ Lagos, of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mohammed Othman, said on Sunday that the organisation was working toward achieving a zero-hour cargo clearance of goods.
Mr. Othman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that only importers, who refrained from wrong classification and false declarations, would benefit from the zero-hour window.
He said it was an opportunity for importers, who were upright and whose declarations were honest, to reap from the cargo clearing window.
According to him, when you clear five containers without any blemish, for the sixth one, everything is done in your premises.
Mr. Othman, an Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, said it would be zero-hour because immediately the cargo arrived, it would be taken from the quay side straight to the importer’s warehouse.
He explained that examination and other issues would be carried out in the importer’s premises, apart from payment of import duty.
The Assistant Comptroller-General said, “If you are able to pay your duty in two hours, you take your goods and go’’.
He said a “faithful importer” would enjoy all the privileges of a green lane, where there would be no scanning and no examination, adding that an importer might also enjoy the privilege of a blue lane, which entailed only examination.
“If there is any Demand Notice, the importer pays,” Mr. Othman added.
He said that he was optimistic that the zone would exceed its revenue target, which, according to him, is 75 per cent of the total revenue set for all zones by the Service.
“We have very serious Area Controllers in place and we have highly motivated and well paid officers.
“Because of the training and motivation, everybody in the service is ready to give back to the administration enthusiastically and to reciprocate the kind gesture of the administration to ensure the target is met,’’ Mr. Othman said.
The Assistant Comptroller-General said to boost revenue, most of the identified revenue loopholes had been blocked.
Mr. Othman said, “For Customs agents and officers, who want to cut corners, the system will record them and they will be caught in a matter of time by the post-clearance audit team. ”
He said that there were no longer customs checkpoints on the highways, except those that could be found 40 kilometres from the border stations of Seme and Idiroko.
Mr. Othman urged the public to report any checkpoint found on the highways to the nearest Customs office, so that the errant personnel could be dealt with.
The assistant comptroller-general added that the Service usually sent alerts to mobile phones of officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to invite them for cargo examination points.