By Bayo Bernard
The President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will not go back on its Palletisation Policy despite reservations on the part of stakeholders in the import chain business. It has therefore directed the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS to swing to action as soon as the deadline of March 31, 2018 set for its implementation expires.
The federal government had late last year on December 22 rolled out the policy framework as part of the Ease of Doing Business in the country. The administration was forced to move the initial deadline from January 1, 2018 following stern protest from the shipping community. The pressure forced the new deadline to March 31, 2018, which the federal government said is now sacrosanct.
But in recent memo to various government agencies operating in the import value chain the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun the Nigeria Customs Service to apply sanctions on any importers who violated the policy after the grace period had expired. “Failure to comply with the above provisions designed for seamless implementation of the palletisation policy, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS shall invoke shall invoke sanctions as provided in the addendum to the 2017 Revised Import Guidelines issued by the ministry of Finance.
Investigations by the magazine at various customs formations at the port indicate that the NCS has received the memo and are already working on modalities for full implementation of the policy. Customs sources at the port informed the magazine that the policy when implemented will fast track the process of cargo examination, particularly at the seaports terminals. The sources disclosed that the NCS is fully prepared to ensure compliance by the end of March this year.
The minister said that the new regime will enhance the safety of security agencies as well as reduce cargo examination time. From April 1, 2018 “Containerized cargo should be loaded neatly in a manner that will promote safety in handling and facilitate speedy examination at the ports by the Nigeria Customs Service,” Adeosun said in the memo.
According to the memo made available to the magazine, “All containerized cargo coming into Nigeria” from March 31 “ are expected to comply with international standard for packing/ stuffing and loading into containers.
Consequence upon this, the memo reads further “Dead pile loading or loading without pallets of containerize cargo is acceptable provided it conforms with international standard.
The only exemption the memo also said “ Are used automobiles and heavy machinery, any loosely packed new or used item without manufacturers’ loading or packing prescriptions should be packed in crates and cartons, a top pallet accordingly.”