As a result of the rising insecurity situation in the country, ,President Mohammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi to reintroduce Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN).
The move is said to be in a bid to curb the proliferation of arms and ammunitions as well as the increase in banditry that bedeviled virtually all parts of the country.
Buhari who is shopping for ideas to beef up security in the country has been convinced that CTN could play a crucial role in enabling the nation address the growing spate of banditry, kidnappings and restiveness fueled by easy access to guns.
To this end, Amaechi has directed the management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) which has Mr. Hassan Bello as its Executive Secretary to kick off the preparation to undertake the responsibility of administering CTN as it takes off.
The CTN or the (Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN) is a system for collecting documents and processing information, when exporting by sea in order to obtain prior information, to participate in security measures, statistics, and generally in order to participate in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) recommendations on trade facilitation and security.
NSC has been encouraged to introduce the system in a way that should not add to the cost of doing business at the nation’s seaports but enable the nation to track imports from ports of origin to drastically reduce import of arms.
It is on record that in 2017 alone, 2671 pump-action rifles were intercepted at the nation’s seaports. The guns were legally registered for export in Turkey as pump-action rifles for hunting but the manifests were changed in Morocco to become steel doors to enable the container gain entry into Nigeria.
With CTN however, Nigeria would have been able to see the original manifests from Turkey and intercept the guns before the consignments arrived in the country.
No fewer than 24 African countries presently use CTN and these nations They are Angola, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana and Guinea.
Others are Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Togo.
Though CTN has had two stints at the nation’s seaports under the administration of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and later NSC, Nigeria would have to prequalify the possible companies via a bidding process.
A maritime lawyer who is also the Director of Education and Research in the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Dr. Alban Igwe said CTN remains the best answer to issues of anomalies and security challenges in the country.
Igwe explained that this was because CTN will improve the security and safety of the supply chain as it will profile cargoes being imported into the country.
His words: “The objective is to improve the security and safety of the supply chain and help us see the profile of products we are bringing in. It will help us know the origin and destination of cargoes and help us know our enemies.”
Apart from insecurity, CTN has also been described as the best platform in checking revenue leakages in imports as well as obtaining information about the content of the cargoes.
It is also expected that CTN will address situations in which importers under-invoice their goods from the suppliers at the point of purchases to pay less duties. The platform will check the trend to ensure manifests are not tampered with by ships for the purpose of cheating on GT.
Apparently elated by the development, Bello describes CTN it as “another instrument that will add tremendously in shipping development”.
Continuing, he said: “It will boost the revenue of the government in customs revenue collection in the sense that it will abate under – declaration and concealment. It will boost the revenue of NPA because there will be no more alteration of the manifests. It will boost the revenue of NIMASA because under – declaration on the weight of ships will not be there any longer”.
CTN is also a veritable source of data and some economic experts describe this as the best quality of the electronic based platform.
Revealing other benefits of the CTN, the NSC helmsman said: “You will know everything that is coming into your country. We have had many African countries having this because it is the initiation of the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC).”