Ghana can have a successful National Single Window (NSW) for customs clearance if it complements the automated system with efficient support systems and well developed infrastructure to back it, the Deputy Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs, Mr Iya Umar Abubakar, has stated.
According to him, well-trained customs officers to capture the right data was crucial whenever information and communications technology (ICT) is introduced, else a bad system will compound the problem at hand.
The Nigerian Customs, which also implemented the single window a couple of years ago, he said, did not only rely on the existing customs officers, but recruited 350 computer graduates into the customs service, and gave them extra training to become accredited, bonded and motivated in order not to be lured by any ICT company.
Mr Abubakar said this in a presentation at the National Single Window Stakeholders Conference recently in Accra.
“Since we said NSW is a process for trade facilitation, many countries think they just throw ICT into the system and they have a NSW,” he said.
According to him, NSW increased revenues collection of Nigerian Customs by 90 per cent. “We were first doing 700 billion naira but we are now doing 977 billion naira,” he said.
He said under the NSW, traders could have all their documents processed in six hours, but needed to have physical connectivity, which meant that goods cleared out of customs control must be transported on good road for it to get to the importer on time.
He also pointed out that the system provided a lot of transparency, since customs could log in and start processing even before the cargo arrived. Airlines arriving in Nigeria are mandated by law to send their Electronic Manifests (EM) before arrival in Nigeria.
“If an aircraft leaves Heathrow, we expect to receive an EM of all what is in that aircraft before it comes into Nigeria and this system can be accessed by customs, immigrations and everyone, including the passengers,” Mr Abubakar stated.