Clearing agents at the Ports and Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) Terminal have lamented that it now takes longer time to clear vehicles using the newly-introduced Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System ( NICIS 2) unlike what it existed before the introduction of the platform.
The platform NICIS 2, is an upgraded version of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA ++) which is designed to provide fast and effective procedures in the clearance of cargoes from the ports.
But in a chat with newsmen at Tin Can Island ports last week, some of the agents complained that before the introduction of the new platform, clearance of used vehicles at PTML used to be a 24-hour operation upon arrival of the ship, but they lamented that the process currently takes longer period.
PTML chapter chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. George Okafor, lamented that the platform has led to delay in vehicle clearance from the terminal.
He also maintained that the delay is only peculiar with clearance of vehicles, adding that containers are cleared easily with the platform.
“ NICIS 2 is a hindrance to the clearance of vehicles and that it is a known fact. As we speak it takes more than four days to clear a vehicle from PTML because of the delay caused by NICIS 2. It is causing a little change in vehicles clearance”.
Also speaking, another agent; Mr. Godfrey Nwosu said that the platform has been having issues with the clearance of vehicles right from the day it was introduced.
“From the onset, NICIS 2 was a challenge because vehicles that are coming into the country with other items cannot be identified by the portal. Sometimes when you declare such vehicles on SDG, NICIS 2 does not recognize it, though we are gradually getting to understand the platform better”
Explaining further, he reiterated that the platform cannot recognize more than one item in the case of vehicles carrying other goods in them.
He added that though the platform is gradually improving, there is need for customs to expedite actions in addressing the challenges.
Also speaking on other challenges associated with clearance of cars from the ports, the NAGAFF chapter scribe noted that issue of uniform charges on valuation at the commands has become a problem in recent times.
“The value you get in TCIP is not the same at Apapa port, yet you will find out that these are the same vehicles with the same date manufactured but value variation is a problem.
But, reacting to the allegations, the Public Relation Officer; PTML Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Yakubu Mohammed, said that clearance of vehicles from the facility “is still on 24 hours and the portal has aided clearance of cargoes from the port” ..