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Sifax group

Failed scanners at ports leave Customs with option of 100% exams, cargo delays—Sifax

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After several claims and counter claims by the leadership of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) that it is on top of the challenge of fixing failed scanners at the ports more than two months ago, nothing has happened.

This according to the Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi has continued to frustrate the planned 24 hour port operations in line with the Ease of Doing Business which formed the basis of the first Executive Order signed by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

In an interview, Afolabi said the scanners in most ports across the country are in a state that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the Customs Service to discharge its duty of container inspection effectively.

According to him, “Most scanners at our ports are either completely broken down or functioning well below installed capacity. This has left the personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service with no other option than to do 100 percent physical examination of cargoes. This comes with huge difficulties and impedes quality and efficient service delivery that the Ease of Doing Business executive order is trying to address.”

But he offered a solution, saying “to address the problem of faulty scanners, the Federal Government need to consider the option of concessioning the management of the scanners in line with the current economic reality in the country which has made it impracticable for the government alone to shoulder the responsibility of infrastructure provision in critical sectors of the economy”.

“The model of concessioning is already a success in the maritime sector. The last 11 years of private sector involvement in port terminal management has brought great improvement to service delivery. I am convinced that such feat could be extended to the scanning service if the Federal Government gives private investors the opportunity of managing the process,” he said.

“The functionality of scanners at the ports is necessary for national security in view of the recent cases of illegal arms importation through the nation’s sea ports. Such illegal importation would have been discovered during cargo examination with the aid of functional scanners,” Sifax boss noted.


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