Customs, agents’ collaboration necessary to tackle PAAR challenges, says Dikko

Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)Alhaji Abdulahi Dikko,  wants the customs agents and freight forwarders to collaboration with the Service to address some  challenges still facing the Pre -Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).
Dikko made the call at the weekend while speaking on the sidelines of the 60th anniversary and official commissioning of the permanent national secretariat of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA) in Lagos.
He encouraged the stakeholders to work in harmony in order to find lasting solutions to the challenges that had been identified with the PAAR regime, rather than engage in trading blames.
“I think it is better that we sit down and look at it intelligently and bring about the solving of that problem harmoniously.”

Earlier, the National President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, in his opening address at the commissioning ceremony,requested the Customs chief to set up a committee involving very responsible members of his association to look into the complaints of agents concerning the PAAR.
 Shittu said: “I will fail if I don’t tell you about the yearnings of our people. You have tried and your name will be in the history books for life. You may be in Abuja, but don’t know everything that is happening on the field; our people are crying. I know we are here to celebrate, but please, help us address the issue of PAAR.
 “PAAR is the best ever existent clearing document established by any Customs authority all over the world, and this was also confirmed in South Korea. We decided to embrace PAAR because it is a facilitator and the World Customs Brokers, which we are members, recognised PAAR as a sample for other countries. 
 “But, some Customs officers and agents may be a stumbling block and I believe it is not your fault that you brought something good to the country,” Shittu said.

The Customs Comptroller-General, however, noted that some of the hitches currently being experienced with PAAR, which commenced only nine months ago, could not be completely ruled out since according to him, the beginning of every endeavor always faced such challenges.
He said that since handing over Destination Inspection to the Nigeria Customs Service was not in the interest of the erstwhile service providers, they abandoned some unfinished Risk Assessment Report (RAR) documents to the Service.
 “PAAR is Nigeria’s creation; it is Customs creation and it is just nine months. As human beings you should know that every beginning is difficult and we must expect teething problems from the beginning.
“Don’t forget that the people who left did not want to leave so they will leave behind a lot of problems, which will cause problems between me and you. So, we are better with solving the problem harmoniously,” the Comptroller-General said.
He reiterated that service providers would no longer perform Customs job or collect duty on its behalf, hence the need to critically look at addressing the problem rather than trading of blame.
 “Let me assure you that even if I leave the Comptroller-General position, no other agency will come back and collect duty on behalf of the  NCS, so it is better while we are perfecting whatever is the problem, let us look at it critically  and solve it between ourselves,” Dikko said.