Customs modernisation project to check extortion of traders

The Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), will check the extortion of traders by facilitating the comprehensive tracking of their goods from the beginning of the trade process until delivery.

This is through its Unified Customs Management System(UCMS), a software that would be deployed to monitor all stages of the transactions by traders.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the TMP is the automation of the business processes of the NCS, to simplify and enhance the experience of stakeholders in the trade value chain.

It is also aimed at making it easy to obtain export and import clearances, and in paying duties and obtaining release of goods.

NAN further reports that customs modernisation project, which has three phases, is a 20- year concession agreement.

It was signed on May 27, 2023 between the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by NCS Board, and The Trade Modernisation Project Ltd.

Chief Superintendent of Customs, Usman Abba, Head, Business Analyst f
or the project, told NAN in an interview on Thursday in Abuja that by using the software traders would be able to know when and where there were hitches in their transactions for redress.

Abba said the system would eliminate fraudulent intent and expose those who take advantage of clients who cannot properly track their goods with the current system to extort them.

‘ This is the platform where the trader has access and is able to track all the stages of transactions, and know where the challenge or exactly the issue is untill the goods are delivered,’ he said.

He said that the service had received numerous reports of agents attempting to extract additional funds from their clients, by falsely claiming that their goods had not been cleared by customs when the process had already been completed.

According to him, the software, which will soon be inaugurated, is designed to have information on all transactions, including payments and goods clearance, to enable the trader to act as required.

‘ So the trader
can log in and see where exactly the goods are, also after he makes payment, he can see through the system that the payment has been done, and even how much has being paid.

‘He can even see that the consignment have stepped out from the port, because we have the gate acknowledgement.

‘ It means that when the truck is moving out, the system will update that the consignment has been gated out because the system allows integration with the terminal operator ,’ he explained.

He added that other agencies were also being integrated into the system to examine goods according to their constitutional mandates

On the current stage of the development of the software, Abba said that all internal systems had been completed, and final touches were being done on stakeholders integration.

‘ What we are working on basically is the stakeholders integration. We are done with customs part and are just on the aspect of few stakeholders, just to show them the system and how to have them integrated.

‘ We have engaged the Cent
ral Bank of Nigeria,National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control,just a bit to finish up the system,’ he said.

NAN reports that the TMP is targeting generating more than 250 billion Dollars in revenue over the 20 year concession.

The project is aimed at bringing Nigeria at par with the rest of the world in the deployment of technology to facilitate international trade.

It would also assist the Federal Government in achieving economic diversification by facilitating easier cross-border trading.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria