Nigeria’s Customs Service (NCS) said it was working to make the scanners operational to facilitate the clearance of goods at the country’s seaports.
Speaking to ICIR, NCS spokesperson Joseph Attah said the service was working hard to get the scanners at the three major seaports operational to avoid unnecessary delays and conflict between customs, agents and importers.
The three seaports are Apapa, Tincan and the Port of Onne.
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According to him, when the scanners became operational, it would eliminate any challenges highlighted by customs officials.
âThe scanners will soon be operational at any time. They are already installed.
Asked about the exact date on which the facility would become operational, the customs spokesperson replied that he could not give an exact time, but was sure they would be effective soon.
There were delays and traffic jams in the country’s seaports because customs carried out manual inspection of cargoes.
Although Customs recently introduced new scanners, they have yet to meet their target. Importers, including manufacturers, complain about delays caused by inefficient scanners.
But Attah said the service will introduce a web-based tracking tool that performs many tasks to alleviate the challenges that currently plague their operations.
âThis year, we will be introducing a web-based tracking application that will allow individuals to log into our system to know their status, more importantly, the status of their cargo.
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âWhen you install the app on your mobile phone, the status of your car will be known at the checkpoints, saving you unnecessary delays. “
He listed other benefits of the app such as boosting trade facilitation, making business easier, reducing insecurity, fighting smugglers and improving services.
The Association of Authorized Nigerian Customs Officers (ANLCA) had said its members faced operational challenges in processing shipments from the country’s ports.
ANLCA board chairman Taiwo Mustapha said this when speaking at a stakeholder engagement meeting. He noted that several cargo alerts would cause delays in deliveries.
He made suggestions on how customs could eliminate challenges in seaports.
âAsking for regular quarterly meetings to assist with assessments and address evolving challenges, the PAAR should no longer be consultative but be enhanced to become an outcome document for compensation purposes; Seme Border faces the challenges of PAAR in terms of data capture; Benchmarking should be stopped because it makes no sense in freight and the deployment of scanners to facilitate freight delivery efforts, âhe said.
He said the Federal Customs Operations Unit (FOU) strike force and other customs response units acted to delay the delivery of cargoes, among other issues.
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Mustapha advised that NCS management harmonize its activities, especially during transport to warehouses. All other alerts should be narrowed down and consolidated into assessment, request and modification, he noted.
Nigerian importers and customs officials have complained over the years about the many challenges and difficulties encountered in seaports in clearing their shipment.
An importer from Tincan Island port in Lagos Lekan Ajifeso told ICIR: âThe number of tables to visit before your cargo clears customs at the seaport is alarming and not good for the ease of making checks. business in Nigeria.
Earlier in September, Zonal Customs Coordinator, Zone A, Modupe Aremu, said the scanners, which would be deployed at all three ports, would arrive in the country in 2021.
Aremu revealed this during a working visit to some commands in Lagos recently.