The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Malam Abdul Salam Mohammed has harped on the importance of embracing an electronically driven cargo clearance and delivery system saying that the adoption of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) will facilitate this
He gave this suggestion last week when members of the inter-ministerial committee on One-Stop Shop for the Ports briefed members of the NPA management on the activities of the committee.
According to the managing director, ASYCUDA, as a concept, with little modifications, has the potentials of achieving the expectation of an electronically driven one-stop shop and community network in the nation’s seaports.
He told the committee that to demonstrate its determination to ensure the smooth implementation of the electronic Manifest System in the nation’s ports, NPA has constituted an in-house committee to ensure that the organisation fine tunes its implementation process.
The local committee which is headed by the organisation’s general manager, Corporate and Strategic Planning, Mr. Christopher Borha, has amongst its terms of reference the introduction of the electronic manifest that is compatible with ASYCUDA to port users, to ensure the establishment of a common electronic platform for Port users as well as carry out all other core functions that would ensure the continuity of the project.
Considering the cumbersome procedure of goods clearance in the nation’s seaport, the Managing Director suggested that the introduction of the electronic manifests system should be on port by port basis, beginning from the Lagos Port Complex (LPC) Apapa, as a pilot scheme.
Malam Abdul Salam Mohammed reiterated that for the scheme to succeed, it must involve the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) shipping companies, clearing agents as well as terminal operators.
He was however, of the view that the issues of safety and security, if not carefully and professionally handled, may pose a challenge to the implementation of the proposed system.
The Managing Director urged members of the Committee to look into the issue of working procedures amongst government agencies in the Port and how that affects efficiency in the system.
Leader of the Committee Mr. Amos Sakaba, a Director with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) had earlier while briefing the management appealed for the cooperation of the NPA to ensure the success of the project.