Efficient cargo clearing expected as Customs get 3 new scanners

Cargo inspection at the nation’s seaport is expected to see greater efficiency as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is set to deploy three newly installed mobile scanners for container examination.

The use of scanners will boost cargo clearance in line with international best practices and cut down delays for cargo owners, according to Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, who commissioned the scanners on Tuesday. The scanners are installed in Apapa, Tin-Can, and Onne Ports.

According to Ahmed, the current process of physical examination of cargo is time-consuming, resulting in delays, and loss of revenue to cargo owners and the government.

She, however, said that scanning of cargoes which is carried out in minutes helps to enhance the capacity to detect prohibited imports that are concealed in containers.

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“The commissioning of the three new scanners is a milestone in the efforts to expedite Customs’ operations, achieve ease of doing business, facilitate trade, prevent port congestion, increase revenue generation to the government and improve national security,” the minister said.

Ahmed said efforts are being made to procure more scanners for the seaports, land borders, and airports in the country.

She implored 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 enhanced capacity building and training of scanning officers.

Hameed Ali, the comptroller general of the Nigeria Customs Service, said the service will be fully responsible for the management and operations of the scanners.

“Unlike previous attempts at managing scanners, our officers have been trained up to level two maintenance capability. This ensures that the day-to-day management of these machines will be proficiently handled by our officers who have been trained and certified by the manufacturers to carry out basic maintenance,” Ali said.

He promised to ensure prompt cargo delivery for scanning and evacuation from the ports as soon as they are certified by the Customs and other regulatory agencies.