By Shola Fadeyi
There are strong indications that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), will in conjunction with other agencies re-introduce soon , the Cargo Tracking Note, popularly called CTN , which implementation was suspended in 2015 by the Federal Government, having being in operation , for one month.
The CTN also known as Advanced Cargo Declaration System(ACD) is a global initiative to monitor and verify cargo on transit from Port of origin to Port of destination, with the capacity to boost security and revenue generation of the Federal Government.
The scheme, when it is re-commenced, will now be executed, on behalf of the Federal Government, by the Shippers’ Council, as the lead agency ,alongside the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) , the Nigerian Customs Service(NCS) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
This is sequel to the fact that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Mallam Abubakar Malami who was saddled with the responsibility of advising on the issue that led to the temporary stoppage of the scheme, has given a positive recommendation that will lead to its re- introduction , while the matter will be presented to the Federal Executive Council(FEC) soon.
Investigation showed that the Council and the other agencies , on behalf of government is set to bring back the CTN to the Nigerian seaports, due to its tremendous benefits to the economy, in terms of revenue generation for the treasury ,through import duty generation, by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) , data collection and security among others.
However, for purpose of more enlightenment , the Shippers’ Council will still have to engage with the critical stakeholders in the maritime and allied sectors such as the freight forwarders , shippers, the Manufacturers Associations of Nigeria(MAN) and the Nigerian Association of Commerce , Industry , Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) among others before the scheme is returned.
Though, the cost or expenses to be borne by shippers on its re- introduction, this time is yet unknown , but indications are that this will be minimal , while it will form one of the issues to be deliberated upon with the stakeholders.
When Marineandeconomy Online contacted the Shippers’ Council on the proposed re-commencement of the CTN collection, its Executive Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer , Barrister Hassan Bello confirmed that it is so, but he refused to give details on what led to the stoppage .
According to him , there is the need to recommence the implementation of the scheme because it is another instrument in shipping which can tremendously increase government revenue from customs duty and for the fact that it will check under declaration and concealment.
Bello said the CTN will also boost the revenue of the NPA because there will no longer be alteration of manifest ,while it will increase the revenue of NIMASA, because under declaration on the weight of ships will no longer be there, apart from the fact that , it is a veritable source of data that will reveal the volume and number of imports into the country.
The Council’s boss explained that the CTN is also a security document , because it makes one to know the type of goods that are imported , while it assists in checking smuggling and importation and proliferation of firearms.
He said many African countries like Cameroun and Niger Republic among others have keyed into the programme because of its tremendous benefits and for the fact that it is an initiative of the Union of African Shippers Council.
In terms of the cost, he said what the Shippers’ Council proposed was the lowest in the whole of Africa for the fact that it was not a direct revenue, while Government is only concerned with the benefits that will accrue from the CTN to the economy and not the revenue to be realized from it.
He disclosed that because of the advantages inherent in the CTN, and to facilitate the export of its product , the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas(NLNG) had already registered with the Council when the scheme was operational while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was also planning to do so before it was terminated after one month of implementation.