The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), has said that the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) on cargoes is not backed by any existing law. Therefore, its component is strange and not recognized for the treatment of valuation and other Customs matters, and aligned with the international valuation process.
President, NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, in a letter to the Presidency, which was obtained by The Guardian, said: “We hereby bring to the attention of the Federal Government, the process of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) that is not procedurally backed by law and its treatment.
“PAAR has no legal relevance with regards to pre-assessment procedures and treatment of imports, as such goods are not pre-assessed before arrival and not inspected, which require 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.
“We find it expedient to draw the attention of the government to our responsibility to conform to international best practice and law of the land, especially as a signatory to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AFCFTA), and other trade conventions,” he stated.
Amiwero said the only existing law on inspection is the Pre-Shipment of Inspection Act 11 of 1996 that is procedurally covered with Clean Report of Inspection (CRI), for inspection of goods.
“The only law that is binding on the inspection and contains process and procedure for the conduct of inspection is covered under section of the Pre-Shipment Act, which includes the issuance of Clean Report of Finding (CRF) that ascertains the inspection of goods conducted before shipment, and requires minimal inspection,” he stated.
According to him, PAAR indicates that all formalities as to the 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. This is still subject to multiple interventions by the Service in contravention of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Kyoto Convention of Customs core principle of harmonization and simplification of Customs procedures, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
He said: “The pre-shipment act accommodates the payment of one per cent Free on Board (FOB), used for the payment of inspection fees to date.
“Since the inception of Destination Inspection in 2006 to date, the inspection fees are drawn from Section 3-(1) of the Pre-Shipment Act to service the Inspection scheme, which is still only the law for inspection of import of goods,” he stated.
He, therefore, stressed the urgent need to review the present PAAR by setting up a committee of experts to look at the process, to accommodate the realities with the present destination inspection operation regime.