Determined to implement the Executive Order on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ at the ports, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Apapa Area I command said yesterday that it had created a functional cargo examination centre in APM Terminals in Apapa port to fast track cargo clearance.
“The Customs Examination centre in Apapa port will serve as a coordinating centre where all stakeholders will exam cargo at the Apapa port. This centre is headed by an assistant comptroller of Customs who coordinates a team of ICT compliant officers to achieve the 48-hour cargo clearance mandate,” Jibrin Muhammed, Customs area controller, Apapa command, said in his office on Wednesday while addressing newsmen.
Muhammed said his management had held a meeting with all critical agencies and they had all agreed to work towards achieving smooth operation of the centre, as “the agencies are already keying into the system and we will continue to perfect it to reduce human contact and time spent on clearing cargo in Apapa port.”
In addition, he said the anti-smuggling units of the command had also impounded containers of difference items including general goods, frozen fish, medicaments, and pharmaceuticals, among others.
According to Muhammed, the items were seized under the offences that include under invoicing, wrong classification and declaration, prohibition and under payment of duties.
Raising alarm on the rise in the export of prohibited items from the seaport, the Apapa Customs boss said the command also intercepted some export containers of scrap metals, wet blue leather and unprocessed wood, which falls under export prohibition laws.
“Investigations are ongoing and sanctions will be applied in line with the extant laws. However the seized pharmaceuticals will be handed over to the National Agency for Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as the law demands,” he said.
The controller also charged prospective exporters of made-in-Nigeria products and other raw materials to come to Apapa Command for their exports.
He disclosed that he was ready to facilitate export trade considering the nation’s economic state and the Federal Government efforts at diversifying the economy through encouragement of export of agricultural produces.