Customs inaugurates committee to ease port congestion

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The Nigeria Customs Service has inaugurated a committee to expedite the decongestion of overcrowded ports in Nigeria.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Wale Adeniyi MFR, officially launched a committee on Disposal of Overtime Cargo on 8 November 2023, at the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters in Abuja.

Quest News reports that the development is in response to the new Customs Act’s provisions, which empowers the service to dispose of containers that have exceeded their allotted time within the ports.

The Customs boss said port decongestion was an important policy direction of the Federal Government, adding that it would enhance efficiency and trade facilitation.

“It is worth noting that approximately six months ago, the new Nigeria Customs Act was signed by the former President Mohammed Buhari, ushering substantial modifications to the previous protocols governing the disposal of overtime cargo,”he said.

According to him, the provision of the NCS Act 2023 mandates the disposal of cargo exceeding its allotted time.

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“The Act also stipulates that goods must be disposed with through public auction or tender, to be widely publicized in advance through national newspapers, television, and the service’s official website,”he said.

The Deputy Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of Human Resources Development, Mr Greg Itotoh, said with the support of the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA), the changes and new procedures will ensure more streamlined trade operations.

In acknowledging the initiative, the General Manager, Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) Mr Durowaiye Ayodele, said over 7,000 overtime containers had remained for years across the ports.

“We have containers that have been there for over ten years, occupying economic space and we are unable to dispose.

“So, this is a significant relief for our operations.

“We are delighted that we have reached a point where we can begin to remove some of these lingering containers and overdue cargo from the port,” he said.

The committee is to be chaired by a senior officer from the Nigeria Customs Service.

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Its members include representatives from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of State Service (DSS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the National Agency for Food, Drugs and Control(NAFDAC).

Others are, representative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission(ICPC);among others.

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