Tayo Busayo, Abuja – The Nigeria Customs Service is at the verge of introducing a new digitisation process aimed at fast-tracking clearance of goods at the Port.
The Fast Track 2.0 scheme which is also a fully automated proces was unveiled at a sensitization program held at Eko Hotel in Victoria Island Lagos on the 31st of August and the 1st if September. The event attracted Government Regulatory Agencies, present Fast Track beneficiaries, potential F.T 2.0 beneficiaries and other key players directly involved in the clearance process at the Port.
According to the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs Bede Anyanwu from the Strategic Research and Policy Department of Nigeria Customs Service, Fast Track 2.0 will create better opportunities for compliant traders and also increase higher revenue for the Federal Government.
“Fast Track 2.0 is a desire for digitalization of the fast track regime, which is one of the tools, the Nigeria Customs has, with the view to creating better opportunities for compliant traders to have quick access into and out of the port premises while ensuring that other procedures attendant upon release of their consignment are carried out at the traders premises. This he said would lead to higher revenue for the government through Trade Facilitation”
“We want to improve on the volume of import of Traders and that, of course, will turn to higher revenue for the Government without increases in duty rate or tax, we want to increase our efficiency for a revenue drive” he emphasised.
ACG Anyanwu also revealed that the Nigeria Customs Service had organised workshops for Customs Officers in the past, stating that this sensitization is targeted at building capacity for other Government Regulatory Agencies involved in the clearance process at the Ports.
The Customs Area Controller of Ports Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command, Comptroller Suleiman Bomai said, the new Scheme is a good development because it is cost-effective as clearance cost will reduce, the time of clearance will equally reduce while revenue generation will increase.
Listing other benefits of the Fast Track 2.0, Comptroller Anthony Ayalogu in charge of Trade Facilitation and Preferential Trade, Headquarters, Abuja said, paperwork will drastically be reduced and all transaction details will be saved electronically in our Systems.
“What we used to have was a manual process, for Fast Track registration (local archiving) but now, we shall see, a digital process of registration. Data will now be easily transferred from one point to another. The integrity of the system will no longer depend on manual archiving processes so there is no fear of damage to records.
The Fast Track 2.0 will ensure effective calculation of duties, submission of relevant regulatory requirements, communication between government agencies, and identifying the status of Agents or Importers digitally and data can be easily retrieved with the help of a button, Comptroller Anthony Ayalogu stated.
Stating the stages of the Digital process, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, Customs Area Controller Apapa, Lagos said compliant traders will move from fast track 2.0 to 2.0 plus and then finally upgrade to Authorised Economic Operator which means, Cargoes will be released seamlessly based on the level of trust built from one level to another.
“We have reasonable time, month, years before we can upgrade you to 2.0 plus, that means we have high trust in you, so we watch you build the confidence over a while.”
Rajul Awasti, (Senior Public Sector Specialist) a representative of the World Bank congratulated the Nigeria Customs Service, according to him, the innovation will upgrade trade facilitation and will increase domestic resources.
“The World Bank is very proud in supporting the program and we are here today, to support the Nigeria Customs Service on the program, which is the enhancement of trade facilitation.”
The National Public Relations Officer of the Service, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Timi Bomodi noted that the sensitization process will spread to other zones of the Country.
“We are not limiting the sensitization to only Zone “A” we are spreading our tentacles to other Zones to avail Traders and other Government Regulatory Agencies of what we intend to introduce, so that, they can mentally and physically key in, if we can dot the i’s and cross the t’s, yes! We shall kick start the fast track 2.0 as soon as possible because the benefit is so huge” the National Public Relations Officer added.