There are indications that importers, exporters and other business concerns at the nations entry ports may wait till sometime next year before being served with functional scanners.
In an interview during a recent media briefing at Tincan island Port, Apapa, the Customs Comptroller General, Hameed Ali, said the process of acquiring new scanners for the port was ongoing and may take a longer time as orders based on usage specification can only be sent to the manufacturer after approval has been secured by the Service.
According to him, “The memorandum for first consideration was supposed to have been presented on Thursday and if that was presented and approved, then we are almost getting to the provision of scanners at our seaports, airports and land borders. The procurement process is long because scanners are not off the shelve items; we have to place orders for them”.
“In the interim, customs and the ministry have agreed to go for a quick pick at the major seaports and airports, before we get the bigger gantry scanners. This is what we are working on and hopefully by the end of the year, we will begin to see scanners at our ports.
“It is unfortunate that the scanners we have are totally bad and putting them back will only amount to a waste of money,” Ali said.
However, investigations on why existing ones handed over to Customs by a former concessionaire went bad showed that many of the Customs officers who operated the systems had little or no knowledge of how to use them.
Some industry observers claimed that the collapse of the scanners may not be unconnected with conspiracy within the Service not to carry out routine maintenance of the systems which lead to their eventual park up.