Until recently, before the introduction of new IT platform by the Nigerian Customs to its import and export from Nigeria, the ASYCUDA, which is the Automated System for Customs Data, is a computer unit in the Nigerian Customs that does the Single Goods Declaration/Assessments, and does the following functions:
- The development, implementation and maintenance of information technology of the Nigeria Customs Service.
- Handling of Customs automation system in import clearance procedures.
- Harmonization and standardization of Customs procedures in the Country, for better management and improved productivity in the Nigeria Customs Service.
- Trade facilitation through enhanced speedy cargo clearance
- Improved Customs operations monitoring and management
- Enhancement of field data and international data interchange through World Customs Organisation/World Trade Organisation
- Fraud elimination from the Nigerian Customs through reduced human interface and digital system
- Customs Declarations Import and Export Licenses
- Suspense Procedures, Selectivity
- Control Files, Valuation
- Accounting Functions Tariff and Taxation
- Utilities and configuration
- Manifest management
ASYCUDA: REPLACEMENT BY THE NIGERIA CUSTOMS WITH THE INTEGRATED SYSTEM (NCIS) II PLATFORM
NCIS stands for Nigeria Customs Integrated System. The Nigerian Custom Service uses the NCIS software platform. Created to enhance seamless cargo clearance, It is an improved version of earlier automatic systems . Such earlier versions include the following:
- Automate System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA),
- ASYCUDA 2.3,
- The ASYCUDA 2.7,
- ASYCUDA ++, and
- NCIS I,
Improvements and similarities are in the following respects:
- ASYCUDA system allows agents to make five declarations in one hour, whereas the NICIS II, allow agents to make up to 18 declarations within an hour.
- Both NCIS I, and NCIS II allow Customs Licensed Agents to view what other control agencies such as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria – SON and National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) are doing with respect to their declarations.
ASYCUDA: THE CHALLENGES OF THE NEWLY LAUNCHED NIGERIA CUSTOMS INTEGRATED SYSTEM (NCIS) II
Like every new system the Nigeria Customs Integrated System (NCIS) II, has introduced a lot of challenges than imagined. The new platform launched first in the Western part of Nigeria has the following issues:
- Heavy downpour caused the NCIS II System server brake down as confirmed by the Customs. This has resulted in inability to access works, and hence no clearance.
- Reduced revenue for Customs, arising from inability of system to generate needed reports
- The impact of the broken down server in the western port, on the importers are congestion in port areas, increased storage charges by terminal operator and demurrage by shipping companies.
- Issues are also being noticed with debit notes, causing importers being billed twice on the same job
- Inspection requests are hardly properly triggered resulting inspections uncompleted inspections.
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The introduction of new IT platform by the Nigerian Customs to its import and export from Nigeria has caused some issues with import clearance processes in Nigeria this month of July and August 2018. Issues experienced range from network to hardware and software technical problems. The Nigerian Customs’ technical partner, Webb Fountain who manages the Customs IT systems is working relentlessly with the implementation team to ensure normalcy is restored to the Customs trade processing platform, and hopefully normalcy will be restored soonest so that Single Goods Declaration/Assessments and other reports can be generated with ease. Hence if you are an importer, be patient with the agent guys out there in the field – not anyone’s fault.