FG orders $18m scanners to limit prohibited items – The Sun Nigeria

By Steve Agbota, Lagos

The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has ordered three Rapsican mobile cargo scanners to restrict the entry of arms, ammunition and other prohibited items into the countries through seaports.

The commissioning covers respectively those installed at the port of Tin Can Island in Lagos as well as at the port of Onne. Each of the scanners has the capacity to process and scan over 500 shipments in a day.

In July 2020, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), approved $18.12 million for the purchase of the cargo scanners and were delivered last year in December to facilitate port operations and eliminate 100 scan %, which fueled corruption between stakeholders and port review officers.

The contract was actually awarded to a company called Messrs Airwave limited and the contract is for $18.12 million of foreign component, there is also a local component of N3. 255 billion including tax of 5% VAT.

Speaking during the commissioning of the three new Nuctech mobile scanners for customs, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, congratulated the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari who granted approval by the FEC for the acquisition and installation of the scanners as well as the training of 120 NCS officers.

She said that the project will undoubtedly help the NCS to fulfill its mandates, in line with the main priorities of the administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari aimed at reducing poverty and stimulating favorable macroeconomic economic conditions for growth. and sustained development.

According to her, the scanner has the ability to detect prohibited imports concealed in shipments, adding that it enables more shipments to be scanned and brings desired efficiency and effectiveness in shipment examination processes.

“The commissioning of these three non-intrusive scanners is part of efforts to expedite customs operations and fulfill its mandate of ease of doing business, trade facilitation and prevention of port congestion.

“These three scanners will help increase government revenue and improve national security.
It will also help improve the remote audit trail of cargo in the port system,” she said.

She implored the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), port terminal operators and all port stakeholders to cooperate with NCS to take full advantage of these scanners, which have the capacity to process up to 500 containers per day.

“The commissioning of the three new scanners today is an important step in the Service’s efforts to speed up customs operations, facilitate the conduct of business, facilitate trade, prevent port congestion, increase revenue generation for the government and improve national security.
“I therefore implore NCS management to work with the scanner contractor, to ensure proper maintenance and full utilization of the scanners within the 30 months provided for in the contractual agreement, as well as capacity building and training 120 NCS digitization officers,” she added.

She said efforts are being made to procure more scanners for the country’s seaports, land borders and airports, saying the main thing is to improve efficiency and generate more revenue for the government.

Also speaking at the event, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), said the scanners ordered are an intervention pending the commencement of customs modernization which will deploy 135 scanners, adding that by 2023 there would be scanners all over Nigeria.

According to him, as part of the reform strategy of the current administration, the Service has been forced to embrace technology as the backbone of trade facilitation, adding that recognizing its strategic importance, the Service has chosen to embrace in its entirety.

“Our modernization project aims to automate all our processes and procedures, of which import and export inspection is fundamental. We know that to remain competitive, our ports must be more efficient and effective.

“As the volume of trade increases, our facilitation capacity must also increase. Efficient freight management and full automation of customs and other regulatory processes are guaranteed to reduce the cost of customs clearance and ultimately the prices of goods in the open market, an event that will benefit consumers. Nigerians.

“We also understand that technology must be deployed in the way that best suits our needs and our environment. This is why we have developed a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the use of these scanners. Our SOPs provide all stakeholders with a working guide as to their individual responsibilities,” he explained.

However, he said, from customs agents, clearing agents, shipping companies to terminal operators, the roles are defined to show who should do what, where, how and when. He said it is the articulation of these roles and how they should be performed that would ensure the Service derives the maximum benefit from the use of such non-intrusive examination equipment.

“As a leading trade facilitation agency, we are constantly striving to reinvent ourselves. Not satisfied with the achievements of the past, our goal is to make the present great and the future greater. However, because we recognize the importance of partnership with other relevant government regulators, we have created windows that will allow connectivity to our systems.

“Where previously joint physical examinations were performed by all relevant agencies, the digitization process will not only reduce the stress associated with positioning, unloading and inventorying containers. It will store recorded footage in a secure format easily accessible by all agencies from the comfort of their offices. This makes it easier to audit transactions using these images and will certainly prevent checkmate attempts by non-compliant traders to cheat the system.

“The security challenge is of immense concern to all well-meaning citizens. Since we know that a good number of items that pose a threat to national security find their way through our various points of entry, we believe that the equipment being put into service today will greatly enhance our ability to defend our dear nation,” he said.

As the Service approaches the first phase of e-Customs modernization, he said people will see the deployment of scanners at all approved seaports, airports and land borders.

His words: “We will also see the launch of a central data management system when live feeds from our ports and borders can be viewed and monitored from our headquarters. We are therefore grateful for the support of our line Ministry and the tireless efforts of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to make this dream a reality. We want to assure him and all Nigerians that this equipment will be put to good use for the benefit of all.

“Unlike previous attempts to manage scanners, our agents have been trained to Level 2 serviceability. This ensures that the day-to-day management of these machines will be handled competently by our agents who have been trained and certified by the manufacturers to perform basic maintenance.

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