Following growing calls for functional scanners to reduce the backlog of cargo at ports, the Nigerian Port Consultative Forum said scanners had been ordered but had not seen them.
NPCF Chairman Kunle Folarin in an interview with our correspondent said physical inspection of cargoes will continue at ports until the arrival and installation of scanners.
He said: “The Comptroller General [Customs] said the scanners were on their way. The scanners were ordered but we haven’t seen them. In the meantime, will work on the cargoes be stopped?
“So they will continue with a 100% physical exam until the scans arrive. When the scanners arrive, we will be able to monitor the installation and the application because that is what importers want.
A former director general of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, who also spoke with our correspondent, underlined the ineffectiveness of scanners in the various ports of the country.
Regarding allegations that the scanners were deliberately sabotaged by customs officials, he said, “I don’t think Customs, a government agency, will want to guarantee the deliberate sabotage of the scanners.
“If the government is clear about where it is buying its machines, and if it is sure it is buying the right machines, is it also training those who will use the machines? Because it’s an integral part of freight facilitation.
“Nigeria is a signatory of UNCTAD, which promotes the facilitation of the movement of goods. Scanners are part of what will ensure this movement which makes a port efficient and desirable by the international maritime community. ”
According to Sarumi, inefficient scanners lead to a backlog of freight, which affects importers.
He said: “Because not only are their cargoes delayed in ports, they will also be forced to pay more money for demurrage, and ultimately the cost of bringing the cargo to Nigeria is much higher. than it should be.
“My take on solving this scanner problem is that the government should look at the source of the scanners, train the users, and also include a service and repair contract with the suppliers.
“If the scanners are provided by a group of people, give them other things to do as well: training, maintenance and repairs. You don’t just buy scanners without them in place.
Sarumi stressed the need for the Ministry of Transport to establish clear responsibilities of several agencies within the maritime sector.
He said: “The line ministry which knows the statutes which set up each of the agencies should be able to know their responsibilities. “
All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the express prior written permission of PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]