PAAR: The Tortuous Road

PAAR: The Tortuous Road
Nigeria Customs Service

Even though there are still pockets of complaints amongst the users, the introduction of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), can be said to have done more good than harm both to the users and the government.

This assertion is not unconnected with the fact that the scheme has successfully reduced cargo dwell time in the port as well as boost trade facilitation.

Exactly a year ago when PAAR came into existence as an alternative to the Destination Inspection by the then Service Providers, it generated a lot of hues and cries especially from importers and clearing agents who initially found the process cumbersome because it was virtually a new concept of cargo clearance process.

However, the scheme having been given so much sensitisation, has been accepted by the agents as a better tool than what used to obtain before its advent.

It could be recalled that when PAAR was newly introduced, many stakeholders fought tooth and nail for its reversals but for the resilience and resistance of customs.

Today as PAAR saw its first year of birth, customs said it has been able to save the country of some unnecessary splurge hitherto experienced.

In a recent meeting, a customs officer boastfully said that PAAR has not only helped in trade facilitation but has helped to save the country some N36.7 Billion in the first ten months of commencement which would have gone to the service providers were they still in charge.

Meanwhile, that is not to say that it is yet uhuru with the scheme as there are some people who still have not understood the process which calls for why the customs will have to heighten the training programmes for the agents and their clients for better understanding.

The advantage of  PAAR reflects in the revenue generated by the service in the year 2014 despite some short comings experienced in form of service withdrawal by agents and public holidays.

Having said this, it is also pertinent to note that PAAR as a trade facilitation tool which debuted last year needs improvements as agreed by stakeholders in order to achieve the 48 hours clearing time it was originally meant for.
In some quarters, there are still some complaints about delays beyond the stipulated 48 hours bench mark which stakeholders frown at.

Officers on PAAR desks should be given the required trainings to avoid creating  loggerheads between the officers and men of the service and the agents.

Because when there is lack of know-how, there is definitely going to be complaints as still being experienced.
Most agents complain about customs raising DN for mistakes committed by the officers in their valuation of goods.

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