Photo: R-L, Adeniyi, Ajani
Customs CG promises collaboration with stakeholders for prompt cargo clearance at ports
The Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Adewale Adeniyi, has promised to ensure collaboration between the NCS, the Federal Ministry of Transportation and other stakeholders for the prompt clearance of cargo at the nation’s ports.
Adeniyi made this known while receiving a delegation of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, led by its Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, who paid him a courtesy call at the Agency’s Headquarters in Abuja.
According to him, the NCS Act 2023, has adequate provisions for dealing with issues of port congestion, which were initially not the mandate of the Service, and will reposition the NCS to ensure that Nigerian ports are efficient and meet the needs of its users.
“We have adequate provisions, that talk about temporary storage of cargoes in our ports, meaning that the new Act recognizes the fact that no longer shall our ports be used as storage facilities for cargoes.
“Our law provides for only 28 days dwell time for cargoes and, by the 30th day, the law provides that Customs shall commence the process that will lead to the sales, disposals or destructions of all uncleared cargoes and goods, as the case may be,” Adeniyi said.
The Comptroller-General further noted that there were also provisions in the new law that provide for sanctions against those who abandon goods in the ports.
He, however, promised that there would be consultations with stakeholders, adding that all processes and procedures would be followed to ensure that while trying to free up spaces, Customs would not compromise any law.
Adeniyi stressed that for Nigerian ports to run efficiently and competitively, the collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders including the Ministry, its agencies, and terminal operators will be needed to facilitate seamless operations.
Earlier in her address, the Permanent Secretary had called for synergy between her ministry and the NCS towards the disposal of over-time cargo to pave way for effective and efficient service delivery at the ports.
Mrs Ajani noted that it was pertinent for her delegation to be among the first to pay a visit to the CGS and extend the Ministry’s well wishes on his recent appointment.
She said that part of the visit was also to brief him on the Committee that was earlier set up comprising the ministry’s officials, agencies and the NCS on the disposal of overtime cargoes at all the ports in Nigeria.
“The ports are over spilling with overtime cargoes. Some dating way more than 10 years. We are not even sure of the integrity of the goods, but for our whole operational services, this is impeding service delivery and efficiency,” Ajani said.
She stated that the terms of reference included, among others: sensitizing stakeholders on the need to clear up the ports; auditing overtime cargoes at all ports; and recommending appropriate modalities to dispose them and free the ports for better service delivery.