The stakeholders in the nation’s maritime industry have expressed happiness over the rate at which the Nigeria Customs Service has been generating and transmitting the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) which hitherto was marred by a number of complains.
A cross section of the stakeholders who spoke to Primetime Reporters in Lagos on Friday acknowledged that the Nigeria Customs Service was getting over the initial problems it encountered at the inception of the regime.
Speaking on the matter, the national President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nweke disclosed that in the last twenty-one days, the PAAR platform has recorded tremendous improvement.
Nweke who remarked that the PAAR which was marred with the initial teething problems which according to him, included the activities of the service provider called Webb Fontaine which was out initially to sabotage the effort of the service, lack of transition plan on the part of the Ministry of Finance who failed to get the out gone service providers to transfer the technical knowledge to the Nigeria Customs Service in order to adequately prepare them for the eventual take over of the scheme.
He further mentioned others to include the dishonest declaration on the part of the importers who declare wrongly the content of their consignments and the over 99,000 unprocessed Risk Assessment Report (RAR) hurriedly handed over by the service providers at the wake of the customs take over saying that all those issues were in the past as the service has taken care of them all.
The NAGAFF boss who described PAAR as the best concept that suit the peculiarity of the Nigerian trading community revealed that PAAR now comes out within twenty-four hours after application for i8t has been made by the importer or the agent.
According to him,” we the freight forwarders and the agents anticipated these problems just that we were much concerned about the time it will be soughted out so that we have a leeway to seeing to the end of the tunnel which if you ask me today, I think we can now see the end of the tunnel, that it is brighter”.
“But suffice it to say that in the past twenty-one now, I won’t say a month, those problems had been nipped in the bud. So you can now apply for PAAR and get your PAAR within twenty-four hours and the system and the output is now higher as against what it was before now”.
He maintained that most PAARs that are held back in the system currently was as a result of dishonest declaration on the part of the importers saying that until importers begin to declare honestly, they would continue to have issues with the customs as according to him, PAAR was premised on honest declaration.
On her part, the treasurer, Association of Nigerian Licensed customs Agents (ANLCA), Apapa Chapter, Hajia Bola Muse recalled that in the last three months, PAAR was nothing to write home about as the teething problems were so frustrating that the stakeholders wondered if the end would ever come.
Muse however opined that PAAR has been working efficiently nowadays and that the importers and agents were happy with the development even as she commended the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Dr. Abdullahi Inde Dikko for keeping faith even in the face of the visible doubts in the minds of Nigerians.
“Presently, PAAR is working efficiently. I might not know the total number of PAAR that came out but the complains are lesser now and the PAAR is coming out smoothly which I even commend the efforts of the CGC and the people working with him especially our APM here, Mallam Yusuf, he has been working. They are doing a good job”, Muse stated.
Also speaking, the Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Apapa Chapter, Dr. Fred Ajuzie confirmed that the PAAR has greatly improved in the recent times to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders.
Ajuzie observed that given the current trend, in the coming months, all the contending issues as regards PAAR would have become a thing of the past and all the pains initially suffered by the stakeholders would be confined in the trashcan of history.
He noted that PAAR now comes out within forty-eight hours of application as against the minimum of one week that was the case with the former service providers.
He said,” if it takes two days to be out, it is still far better than the RAR which took a minimum of one week to come out. But I am only trying to tell you that it has improved tremendously from what it used to be”.