Eight years after, agents fault Customs PAAR, label processes illegal

Eight years after the Nigeria Customs Service introduced the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), clearing agents at the nations seaports have faulted the PAAR, stating that the processes are not backed by any law in Nigeria, and has generally impeded cargo clearance at the ports instead of facilitating it.

In a letter dated September 21, and addressed to President Muhammudu Buhari, the clearing agents under the auspices of the National Council of Managing Directors Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) called for the review of the PAAR, stating that it has no legal relevance with regards to pre-assessment procedures and treatment of Importations.

According to the letter which was signed by the National President of the NCMDLCA, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, and made available to the Nigerian Tribune, “We hereby bring to the attention of the Federal Government the process of PAAR which is not procedurally backed by law.

“PAAR has no legal relevance with regards to pre-assessment procedures and treatment of import, as such goods are not pre-assessed before arrival and not inspected, which requires the select principle of examination to be conducted with frequent lifting of value in contravention of the Customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act 20 of 2003.

“The following were the reasons  PAAR was introduced in 2012 by Customs: to enhance revenue collection, border security and trade facilitation; the utilization of pre-classification and pre-valuation mechanism to facilitate the importation of good into Nigeria and improve the efficiency of Customs clearance and to perform a comprehensive assessment of imported goods by classifying and valuing them based on international standards and conventions in order to generate a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) for analyzing risks.

“However, after eight years of its introduction, we noticed that the objective of setting up PAAR has not been met, as most of the proposed features have not been realized.

“The process is being duplicated and there is upliftment of value in contravention of the Customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act 20 of 2003 and the WTO Convention on inspection of goods, which duplicates the process in the application and causes delays in the port.

“The PAAR process also lacks two major components, assessment and report, as it only contains documents submitted that were not physically inspected to generate a report. This is in clear contravention of WTO convention of import inspection and the customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act 20 of 2003 where value is lifted at will by the service reference to the law on valuation.

“Furthermore, PAAR has no assessment or report content to process, as there is no report or assessment done, but only documentary information, which is not assessment or report and not in line with international validation procedure.

“PAAR indicates that all formalities concerning inspection of quality, quantity and value have been conducted and the report is the final process of payment and collection of goods by the importer/ licensed customs agents. However, this is still subject to multiple interventions by the customs in contravention of WCO Kyoto Convention”.

 

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