What is your appraisal of the fast track scheme by Customs?

Christopher Banye (Retired Customs Comptroller)

Fast track is a tool for trade facilitation, it is not given to individuals, it is rather given to companies who either import in large quantities or are into manufacturing, and because of the large number of containers they bring in at every importation, government now says they should get to their premises while officers will come over there and examine the containers, fast track is not given to every importer, when you apply, customs will profile you to know how you have fared over a period of time and take a look at what you have been bringing into the country. In my own opinion, the fast track scheme is not abused; the scheme is to enable importers move large quantities of cargo to the factory to avoid delay at the port. I would have said that it is abused if we have prove.

 

Adebowale Bare (ANLCA Executive at Tin Can chapter)

Customs should continue on a cautionary measure because some corrupt importers usually hide under the guise of fast track in order to bring in prohibited items like ammunition and other things, but if customs can continue the fast track on a cautionary measure to know the history of the very items and the importer and the items in order to know if they are abusing it. Fast track should not be cancelled because there are some chemicals that do not need to stay beyond certain time at the port, they need to be at the owners warehouse before the expiry date, but if customs cancels it, such cargoes would be affected.

 

Charles Ubah (Licensed Customs Agent)

As far as Nigeria is concerned, whatever you bring out to make a place peaceful or sanitized, there must be abuses because of our peculiar nature, the fast track scheme is now being abused by the same people government has given the opportunity, the bad elements would infiltrate them and ask them to import certain cargo, it was in the Nigerite fast track that cocaine was discovered. However if you ask me if the fast track is necessary, I will tell you that it is very important to the import and export trade, there should be periodic assessment of those enjoying the fast track. Customs should also investigate those importers abusing it.

 

Osita Chukwu (Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders)

Fast track is okay, as long as the designated warehouse is there, overseas also practice fast track, some homogenous cargoes do not need to waste much time at the port for long, they need to be pushed to the warehouse where they can be examined, it is not only customs that will be at the warehouse for examination, there is police there, there is the anti bomb squad, NDLEA among others.

 

 Mr. Obiora Madu (CEO, Multimix Academy)

The fast track is for companies that are in green channel, so if there is any fraud going on there, it means that the wrong people have infiltrated into the fast track platform. Anybody who is into the platform is someone who has high integrity and high on compliance with customs over the years, people don’t get the fast track platform by accident. So if you have fraud in that, it means that the Nigerian factor has set in there.

 

Okey Nerus (Chairman of NECOM, NAGAFF) 

When you introduce something into the system, no matter how good that thing is, people will still abuse it. So to some extent the fast track can be said to have been abused.

 

Frank Ukor (Immediate past AREFFN President)

I don’t know whether it has been abused or not, but it looks like it has been abused, the importers are taking advantage of the platform.

 

Nnadi Ugochukwu (NAGAFF chieftain)

I have been benefiting under the fast track and it is only once that it has been abused. Other ones have not been abused it is a good idea and has not been abused, it facilitates trades

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