Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Customs Paar Will Create Culture of Transparency, Accountability - Bello

The introduction of Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), an internal initiative of the Nigeria Customs Service, will usher in a more transparent culture in the management of cargoes at the nation's seaports, says Awwal Bello.

According to him, "The PAAR is a perfect initiative of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) and it is indispensable for the development of our economy through the cutting edge technology single handedly developed by the Customs Service.

He maintains "not only is it going to make their work easy, it would also make the entire exercise transparent because before a cargo reaches the Nigerian territorial waters all its contents would have been assessed and valued, which makes the clearing process transparent and cost effective. And with this, the issue of double charges would be eliminated automatically, which in turn will help the government in accountability and auditing."

The security expert explained that the PAAR was a powerful risk assessment management system which will be used for calculation of duty payable to the government through the NCS. The system will help the importation of goods into Nigeria and improve the efficiency of Customs clearance. It would also enhance border security and international trade facilitation. "Therefore the PAAR system will replace the old method, known as Risk Assessment and Destination Inspection Reports."

Urging Nigerians to support the initiative, he noted that only an overwhelming support from all Nigerians "will make the federal government adhere to this selfless initiative as worthy of implementation and the agency should be supported to ensure successful execution.

On the numerous gains the initiative holds, he explains, "This will boost our revenue generation profile. We should shun politics and personal interest in order to make this achievable; it is for the betterment of all not an individual or group of individuals.

"Economically, the money usually paid to consultants for such services would be saved automatically. Moreover, we should learn to carry out our official responsibilities in globally acceptable modus operandi.

Besides, it's a serious issue contracting our security to someone outside. It's in this regard that the agency needs to be supported as it has shown enthusiasm to move forward to meet the global standard.

He further stressed, "Talking about the consultants' contract defects, the contract was not based on the NCS business requirement and also not in line with international best practices on Custom reforms and modernisation as specified in Kyoto convention on harmonisation and simplification of trade, as it is today the activities of service provider is out dated worldwide."

"Pre-arrival assessment report (PAAR) which is solely designed and developed by NCS manages and maintains national data on trade and security and also effectively handles import on the basis of Pre-arrival of cargo thereby facilitating trade, ensuring security of the nation and improve revenue collection.

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