By Ajibola Abayomi
The need to raise the standard of scanners at the Nigerian ports has been stressed by the National President of National Council of Managing Directors Customs Licensed Agents (NCMDCLA), Mr Lucky Amiwero.
While the nation risks continued inflow of illegal and dangerous ammunition through the ports owing to reliance on almost 100 percent physical examination by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) across the border posts, there is need for urgent attention to reverse the tide.
The former member of presidential task force on the reform of NCS presidential committee on destination inspection and ministerial committee on fiscal policy and import clearance procedure noted the state of the scanners was the cause of to undue delay in the Nigeria import, export, regulatory and transit procedures.
He said it has led to “lengthy, cumbersome procedures that is associated with unnecessary delays, high transaction cost and increase of cargo dwell time, which makes our port the most expensive in the globe.
Furthermore the NCMDCLA stated that: “The acquisition of the Scanners was contracted under the Destination Inspection Scheme between the Federal government of Nigeria and some service providers, namely: Cotecna SGS and Global Scan on a Build, Own Operate and Transfer(BOOT) Basis, for a period of seven years from 1st of January 2006 to 31st December 2012, which was finally extended for one year by the Federal government.
“The agreement for the provision, installation, operation and management of X-ray Scanning Equipment and Software for examination of goods between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Cotecna Inspection Limited, Societe general de surveillance (SGS) and Global Scan System Limited as contained in Articles 4 to 4.3 which provides for ownership of equipment during the duration of the contract and the transfer to the Federal government as detailed below.
But the NCS through its Spokesman, Deputy Controller, Joseph Attah said Service notwithstanding the challenges at hand had recorded huge successes by confiscation several dangerous and unauthorized weapons.
He argued that lack of compliance was the major cause of delay of cargo clearing time.
“Continuous lack of strict adherence to extant rules and false declaration necessitate proper examination in order to protect national economy and security. While acquisition of non intrusive equipment will help, they wont tell you the quantity and quality.
“NCS is always ready to facilitate legitimate trade but certainly not illegitimate ones. There are importers who enjoy fast tracks based on there proven records of compliance .
“Most times people are quick to compare here with other climes without looking at their compliance level. Playing strictly by the rules is the answer not criticism that appears to be shielding the issue”.
While he debunked the romour that the Service rely on 100% physical examination at the ports, he said all necessary efforts at ensuring that every harmful good and illegal product were confiscated at customs duty post would not be compromised.