Nigerian Customs Develops Trade Facilitation Portal

NigerianCustoms-BadgeAs part of plans to consolidate on its modernisation efforts for eventual take-over from the service providers at the expiration of the extended contract by June 2013, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it has developed a web-based application to provide information and guidance for international trade business processors in the areas of import, export and transit trade.

The portal is a non-restrictive online medium and an intuitive and interactive platform for classifying goods, a statement from the Customs spokesman, Wale Adeniyi said yesterday. The portal was developed by the service’s technical partners, nominated officers as well as other stakeholders, it said.

Through the platform, trade processors are enabled to find exact Harmonized System Codes (HS Codes) required for related tariffs and duties. It is expected that the platform will enhance compliance by traders and avail them the required information on tariff, prohibited items as well as taxes/levies due for payment upon importation.

Adeniyi explained also that the application has been designed to boost trade facilitation by granting trade processors access to information from all related government agencies. “Guidelines and procedures for obtaining permits, licences and certificates of specified commodity and country of origin that a trade will require for business processing is available on the portal,”he said. He added that the portal further allows traders to convert currencies to exchange rates set by the Central Bank of Nigeria on a monthly basis, make payments and simulate tax. Source: The Daily Trust

Cargo Inspection – SGS ready to hand over to Customs

NigerianCustoms-BadgeAt the wake of call by some stakeholders for extension of concession period for direct inspection (DI) service providers at the nation’s ports, one of them, Societe Generale de Surveillance SA (SGS) Scanning Nigeria Limited, has reiterated its readiness to handover its cargo scanners and related services under the DI scheme to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) by the end of this month in line with the concession contract it entered into with the federal government through the ministry of finance. SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited,having fulfilled its contractual obligations under the DI scheme, is looking forward to a smooth takeover of its DI activities by NCS officers from January 2013.

In 2005, SGS, along with two other service providers was awarded a seven-year contract that commenced in January 2006, to supply cargo scanning machines on a build, operate and transfer basis (BOT) as well as training services and technical support on risk management, valuation and classification.

SGS has delivered on the deployment of cargo scanners and also trained more NCS officers than was stipulated in its contract. In addition, the company, in August this year, concluded the special training of 80 Customs officers tagged ‘DI Transition Team’ at the NCS Ikeja Training School, as part of her winding down activities. Additionally, SGS carried out renovation of some of the NCS training school facilities and provided computers and other equipment.

Furthermore, SGS believes all the NCS officers sent to us for training have been well prepared to take over the DI activities as from January 2013. (Comment: One would hope that the article appended below – Nigerian Customs officials cannot operate scanners – is dated or otherwise inaccurate. It would be grossly unwise for any arm of government to undertake this responsibility unprepared.) The seven-year DI Scheme can be regarded as a transition phase from the former Pre-shipment Inspection Scheme(PIS) to the next phase of NCS development. Therefore, the conclusion of our DI contract on December 31 will be a milestone for NCS.

Having been in Nigeria for more than 50 years, SGS will continue to support the economic transformation efforts of government should the opportunity arise. The company has been in Nigeria since 1957. Source: Leadership (Abuja)