In a decisive move to address the escalating congestion crisis at the port, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi MFR, convened a high-stakes meeting with key stakeholders in Lagos on November 6, 2023. The focus was on the immediate evacuation of overtime cargoes and the implementation of a 48-hour Customs clearance process.
Engaging with Terminal Operators, Truck Owners, Licensed Customs Agents, and other critical stakeholders, CGC Adeniyi emphasized the mission to fulfill the government’s objective of decongesting the port. His strategic approach involves leveraging the newly granted authority by the Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2023, allowing the NCS to swiftly remove lingering containers.
To ensure a unified effort, Adeniyi announced the formation of a committee comprising government agencies, terminal operators, and shipping lines. This committee, mandated by the Act, will spearhead the removal process, fostering collaboration among stakeholders.
Highlighting the NCS’s commitment to addressing Customs-related challenges, Adeniyi revealed upcoming strategies. These include the launch of the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) program, a robust risk management system, and a time-release study set for the first quarter of 2024.
Stakeholders present at the event pledged their support, with Gerald Mbamalu urging government intervention in improving road infrastructure for smoother truck movement. Terminal Operator Tunde Keshinro proposed streamlining processes for overtime cargoes, advocating for efficiency in disposal at their current location.
To meet the ambitious 48-hour clearance goal, Hon. Princess Chi Eze from NAGAFF called for enhanced scanner utilization at Apapa Port. Zonal Coordinator ACG Bello Jibo affirmed NCS’s commitment, vowing regular visits to ports and terminals to ensure effective scanner utilization.
As the nation grapples with port congestion, the Customs General’s proactive measures signal a turning point, bringing hope for a streamlined and efficient port clearance system.