Customs holds takeholders roundtable to enhance service delivery

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The Nigeria Customs Service has held a roundtable with maritime and excise stakeholders to devise a lasting solution to issues facing clearance processes in ports across Nigeria.

The roundtable was organised in Lagos as part of activities for the 2023 Comptroller-General of Customs Conference.

It was attended by senior serving and retired Customs Officers, Terminal Operators, Freight Forwarders, Licensed Customs Agents, and Representatives of Excise Stakeholders, among others, to create a platform for interaction and identify the way forward to better Customs operations.

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Wale Adeniyi, said concerns such as multiple alerts, numerous checkpoints, and difficulty accessing ports, among others, had been established in previous meetings as the next phase was to set time-bound solutions.

“Issues have been openly discussed.

“The main ones facing cargo clearance will be addressed by collaborating with key stakeholders on building a framework for the way forward for these outlined hurdles.”

“There will be a commitment to the creation and implementation of new policies that are in line with decisions that are taken today, and these approaches will be timebound to ensure we achieve the wanted objective soon,” he said.

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Comptroller Dera Nnadi, a panelists at the roundtable, encouraged port users and stakeholders to optimise weekend operations.

He also encouraged the use of barge without making it a commercial process.

The President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Tochukwu Ezeisi, said, for the first time in years, freight forwarders were happy because “our issues are being discussed and decisions are taken immediately.”

“CGC Adewale has shown seriousness in achieving his three-point agenda by bringing back this conference, which is an avenue to listen to stakeholders, and we are ready to always work with the service,”he said.

Alhaji Kazeem Isa Adua, Deputy President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), commended Customs for the conference.

“The CGC has done well in organising this conference and with the positive body language seen today, we should expect smooth and optimizlsed clearance process soon,”he said.

High point of the event was the setting up of a panel encompassing representatives of stakeholders and the Nigeria Customs Service to address concerns hindering effective port operations.

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It is expected to kickstart by 1st quarter of 2024.

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