Stakeholders in the maritime industry have commended the re-introduction of the Cargo Tracking Note in a bid to curb the proliferation of arms and increase in banditry across the nation.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently directed the Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi to reintroduce Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) in a bid to beef up security in the country.
The Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) or the ECTN (Electronic Cargo Tracking Note), is a system for collecting documents and processing information, when exporting by sea in order to obtain prior information, to participate in security measures, statistics, and generally in order to participate in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) recommendations on trade facilitation and security.
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council saddled with the responsibility to introduce the system in a way that will not add to the cost of doing business at the ports, but enable the nation to track imports from ports of origin to drastically reduce import of arms.
Stakeholders who spoke to our correspondent commended the Federal Government for its reintroduction.
The President Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL), Rev. Jonathan Nicol noted that if the CTN is properly managed, it will stop under-declaration where Customs officers make their money from, adding that the CTN is a modern technology to checkmate the importation of arms and ammunitions.
In his words: “It is a lesser evil than the devil itself ravaging the sector. If it is properly managed, it will heal some incurable diseases. It will evolve into Customs Duty Pre-Arrival Assessment, because Shippers will know the correct duty to pay in advance. It will certainly stop the so-called under-declaration where Customs officers make their money from. It is a modern technology to checkmate the importation of arms and ammunitions.
“It will hurt some arms smugglers. We believe they will fight back. It will also checkmate the unscrupulous importers in high places who are so powerful to bye-pass Government regulations and evade duty payments.
He explained that, with CTN, “Standard Organization of Nigeria will no longer be needed for import certifications, NAFDAC duties will be regulated under ICTN regime”
“Eventually, the duties of freight forwarders will be checkmated. They will all remain in their various homes and offices to perform their duties, if any, as a new evacuation of goods will be introduced”, he said.
Also speaking, the National Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Babatunde Mukaila also opined that CTN will not only bridge the gap of wrong declaration and under declaration, but also help to narrow down the capabilities internationally.
He told our correspondent that, “we cannot shy away from the fact that even with the enhanced intelligence capability of Nigeria Customs Service as a lead agency in Nigerian ports, stories of shocking discoveries of willful wrong declarations abound, not to talk of importation of psychopathic substances and endangered species”.
“I am of the opinion that CTN will not only bridge this gap, but help narrow down capabilities internationally” he said.
Also speaking, the immediate past president of ANLCA; Prince Olayiwola Shittu noted that Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that has not been using the CTN, he said the reintroduction will not just put an end to under declaration, but will also curb the proliferation of arms and increase in banditry across the nation.
On his part the General Secretary of National Council of Managing Directors of License Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Mr. Festus Ukwu said that the CTN will expose importation of illegal consignment such as tramadol and prohibited item that are coming into the country.
“One of the advantages of CTN is to expose illegal consignment such as tramadol and prohibited item that are coming into the country, what is just needed is to sensitize, we need the government to educate us more about it” he added.