By Seun Ibiyemi
The Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed on Tuesday commissioned three mobile cargo scanners to checkmate arms and ammunition and other prohibited items coming into the country through the ports.
This is even as the Minister implored the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), port terminal operators and all stakeholders in the port to cooperate with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to take full advantage of these scanners, which have the capacity to process up to 500 containers in a day.
The commissioning covers the ones installed at the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos as well as Onne Port respectively. Each of the scanners has the capacity to process and scan over 500 cargoes in a day.
Recall that in July 2020, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), approved $18.12 million for purchase of the cargo scanners, which were delivered last year December to ease Ports operations and eliminate 100 per cent examination, which used to fuel corruption at the ports and slow down cargo clearance procedure.
The contract was actually awarded to a company named Messrs Airwave limited and the contract is in the sum of $18.12 million for foreign components. There is also a local component of N 3. 255 billion inclusive of five per cent VAT.
Speaking at the commissioning of the three new Nuctech Mobile Scanners for the Customs, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed commended the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari who granted approval for the procurement and Installation of the Scanners and also the training of 120 Customs officers.
She said the project would no doubt aid the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the delivery of its mandates, in line with the key priorities of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration targeted at reducing poverty and stimulating favourable macroeconomic economic conditions for sustained growth and development.
According to her, the scanner has the capacity to detect prohibited imports concealed in cargoes, adding that it enables more cargoes to be scanned and brings about the desired efficiency and effectiveness in cargo examination processes.
“The commissioning of these three non-intrusive scanners is in line with efforts to expedite Customs operations and achieve its mandate of ease of doing business, trade facilitation and preventing port congestion.
“These three scanners will help increase revenue for the government and improve national security. It will also help enhance the remote audit trail of goods within the port system,” she said.
She implored the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), port terminal operators and all stakeholders in the port to cooperate with NCS to take full advantage of these scanners, which have the capacity to process up to 500 containers in a day.
“The commissioning of the three new scanners today is a milestone in the Service efforts to expedite Customs operations, achieve ease of doing business, facilitate trade, prevent Port congestion, increase revenue generation to government and improve national security.
“I, therefore, implore the management of the NCS to collaborate with the scanners contractor, to ensure proper maintenance and full utilisation of the scanners within the 30 months provided in the contract agreement, as well as enhance capacity building and train 120 NCS scanning officers,” she added.
She said that efforts are being made to procure more scanners for the seaports, land borders and airports in the country, saying the essence is to improve efficiency and generate more revenue for the government.