A high level team from Ghana visited the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, to identify how the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, PAAR, and other ongoing IT modernisation projects are saving Nigeria billions of naira, while ensuring ease of business in Africa as it relates to trade facilitation.
The delegates unanimously agreed that “Nigeria’s Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, and the ongoing modernisation drive had set a pace for Intra-African trade, thus ensuring that African economic bloc remains strong, relevant and modernised to meet the needs of citizens.
The 16 delegates drawn from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, with some senior officers from the Ghana Revenue Authority had a closed door session with Customs management, chaperoned by the Assistant Controller-General of Customs in charge of ICT alongside other officers.
The anchor-man and Comptroller, ICT, Mr. Bashir, took the delegates to the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report ruling centre and explained how it has made the process of clearance of goods before the arrival of cargoes into Nigeria not only very easy, but also cost and time saving for the country.
He also noted the fact that the platform has equally enhanced collaboration and build-up of integrity between the NCS and various stakeholders globally.
The Nigeria Customs team informed the delegates that traders, especially customs stakeholders in all sectors now enjoy better trading processes through the modernisation drive put in place by the federal government which in-turn has created a more conducive environment for investment opportunities.
The delegates spoke on the low level of Africa in global trade, while they expressed optimism that the situation is fast changing due to the introduction of some strategies to make Africa more competitive in global trade.
The impressed delegates also acknowledged that Africa was going for higher levels, highlighting the need for other countries to emulate the modernisation drive sweeping through Africa, starting with how Nigeria Customs now provides timely, authoritative and accurate information about trade with the rest of the world through the Nigerian trade hub portal. The first of its kind in Africa now offers on-line advisory on Customs Tariff Classification and Valuation, tax base, Nigerian regulatory agencies, customs brokers and currency conversion tools.”
The introduction of a single window has become a necessity in advancing customs administration globally.
Commending the efforts of the president of Ghana for taking the lead in introducing trade facilitation agreements in the country, the Nigeria Customs Service lauded the Ghana Customs Division for innovative thinking and assured them of their continuous assistance when they take over from the Destination Inspection Companies come September 1.
The customs officers said since the arrival of West Blue consulting, the changes seen in a period of two years has been very significant compared to the yester-years of other organisations that existed before their arrival.
The Single Window would be a one-stop shop for both Ghana and international trade actors, operating a cross-agency web platform that is designed to integrate the various fast expanding electronic trade services from Ghana government agencies, opening a new era for trade efficiency.
The successful implementation of PAAR will modernise the importation aspect of the trade process in Ghana and improve the experience and confidence of the operators and actors in the trade chain.
We have received numerous letters, requesting to know how efficient the service has been, today, we are glad you are here to see that the comptroller-general’s response to your team is genuine and very factual. The system was developed by our IT partner, West Blue Consulting, the bottle necks that were made have all been resolved, sabotage was reported and we have taken decisive actions concurrently. We now own the system and our stakeholders are so passionate and glad that trade facilitation is becoming a fast reality.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, recorded a cargo throughput, including crude oil shipment, of 49,304,407 million metric tonnes, showing an increase of 7.20 percent over 45,994,755 metric tonnes achieved within the same period in 2014.
A breakdown of cargo throughput showed that general cargo was 6, 469,022 metric tons, an increase of 6.10 percent over 6,097,318 metric tons in the same period of 2014, while Dry Bulk Cargo stood at 2,276,358 metric tonnes.
In a statement signed by the General Manager, Public Relations, NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, FIMarEST showed that Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, shipment was 5,545,946 metric tons showing a growth of 0.37 percent over 5,525,494 metric tons figure of 2014.
Refined petroleum products stood at 4,300,852 metric tonnes, a drop of 6.77 percent from the 2014 figure of 4,613,567 metric tones, while Laden Container that passed through all ports amounted to 233,331TEUs.
Similarly, empty container stood at 163,850TEUs, while a total of 30,649 units of vehicles were handled in the period under review.
The statement also noted that in the first quarter of 2015, a total of 5,139 oceans going vessels with a total Gross Tonnage, GT, of 61,990,999 called at Nigerian ports compared with the GT of 57,034,338 recorded in 2014.
The statement added that “the gross tonnage of crude oil tankers recorded in the period under review showed a 12.21 percent increase over the first quarter of 2014. In the period under review, Lagos Port Complex, LPC, recorded a gross registered tonnage of 9,298,761, showing an increase of 10.6 percent over 8,407,233 gross tons achieved in 2014. A total of 372vessels were handled in the period under review.
“Tin can Island Port recorded a gross tonnage of 12,232,575, indicating an increase of 8.15 percent over 11,310,751 gross tons recorded in the corresponding period of 2014. A total number of 435 ocean going vessels were handled within the period. Calabar Port complex recorded a total GT of 958,288 showing a rise of 11.67 percent over 858,174 gross tons of 2014, leaving the port with 100 ocean going vessels in the period under review.
“Rivers Port complex recorded a total gross tonnage of 1,475,864, indicating 14.45 percent increase over 1,288,524 gross tons achieved in the corresponding period of 2014. A total of 132 ocean going vessels were handled within the period under review. Onne Port complex recorded a GT of 12,768,834, reflecting an increase of 12.99 percent over 11,300,433 gross tons recorded in the corresponding period of 2014 with 1,025 vessels handled within the period. Delta Port Complex recorded 1,643,346 gross tons, with 2,816 vessels handled.
“Generally in the first quarter of 2015, the level of operational activities at the port locations witnessed positive variance over the first quarter of 2014. A positive growth of 4.17 percent (104.2 percent performance) was achieved over 35, 023,619 GT forecasted in the first quarter of 2015.
“This positive achievement could be attributed to growth in liquid bulk (crude oil lifting) and general cargo traffic which can be attributed to the economy recovery in Europe”.
Reacting to the good result, the Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi, said ‘‘the ports had a very strong first quarter which he attributed to the continued attention paid to improving existing port infrastructure in the areas of rehabilitation of port quay walls and aprons. Secondly, deepening our channels and third, the upgrading and renovation of our common user facilities, wrecks removal from our channels, as well as other necessary engineering and marine works to ensure the efficiency of our service delivery and meeting the expectation of our stakeholders and numerous ports users.’’
He added that with the current repositioning being introduced by the federal government under President Muhammed Buhari, the ports will witness further improvements.

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