SON Laments Deficiency Of Customs NICIS II Platform
By Kenneth Jukpor
Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) has decried its inability to make alerts to stop cargoes via the Nigeria Customs Integrated System (NICIS II) leading to cargo interception on the highways and importers’ warehouses.
The Director General/CEO, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim made this revelation at a sensitization workshop organized yesterday by the organization in Apapa, Lagos themed; “Standards Save Lives Grow Economy”
According to the SON boss, the agency was able to easily input alerts on consignments via the former Customs electronic platforms including NICIS I to stop affected goods from leaving the ports, but since the upgrade to NICIS II the organization has been unable to make alerts.
Meanwhile, he warned Nigerian importers against continued import of fake and substandard products into the country, insisting that Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria and that it would take the efforts and resolve of the citizens to address these challenges.
Salim argued that despite the fact that most of the blames for the current state of Nigeria have been placed at the door-step of politicians, many Nigerians in small ways have contributed to the socio-economic and political woes of the country and that it would take collective efforts to rid the country of these woes.
He, however, lamented that in Nigeria, no one is tracking importers of substandard goods; attributing the high rate of insecurity in the country to the importation of substandard goods.
Salim noted that the essence of the sensitization programme with stakeholders is to communicate and share views on how to make businesses more efficient.
Meanwhile, freight forwarders operating at the Lagos ports have called for a reversal of executive order banning the SON from permanently stationed at the ports.
The Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto noted that if the country must win the war against importation of sub-standard goods in the country, there is need to return SON back to the seaports.
Farinto while delivering a topic “Juxtaposing Substandard Imports: SON’s Absence At Seaport” informed that SON vacated the seaports few years ago with the intention of the government to allow the Agency do it’s regulation outside the ports, however, the increase in the imports of sub-standard goods and the effort of some nonconformist has showed that there is need to reverse the executive order.
The ANLCA Vice President noted that if the trend is not arrested urgently by providing solution, then it may affect the economy and dwindle the nation’s income drastically. He stressed that the absence of SON as a regulatory Agency in the ports encourages importation and smuggling of Sub-standard products.
Farinto while urging freight forwarders said If we must achieve ease of doing business, then freight forwarders, Licensed Customs Brokers, should do away with dishonesty in it’s declaration, such as concealment, inaccurate description of imports and exports etc, in order to circumvent the procedures, which he described as an impediments to achieving ease of doing business.
On his part, the President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Tochukwu Ezisi who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Rev. Emmanuel Agubanze urged SON to engage stakeholders more.
According to him, SON’s engagement with stakeholders is key to improving accountability within the organization as well as external audiences.
He further stressed that stakeholders engagement will ensure proper consideration of varying interests and opinions even as he commended SON for embracing activities that enhance the ease of doing business.