The Federal Government has urged Nigerian Customs to enforce the use of scanners at the ports to ensure efficiency and competitiveness, as well as address congestion.
At a meeting in Abuja on Monday, involving Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy; Said Ahmed Alkali, minister of Transportation, and Bashir Adeniyi, Comptroller General (CG) of Customs, among other officials, it was agreed that physical inspection of cargoes at the ports must be phased.
According to the officials, the use of technologies like scanners was important to address the issue of port congestion and ensure efficient port operations.
The meeting also agreed to explore public-private partnerships in the installation and maintenance of scanning technology, saying such a collaborative model would sustain efficiency and innovation in cargo inspection processes.
The thrust of the joint meeting was to deliberate and actualise initiatives that would not only open up ports but also foster seamless cooperation and trade facilitation.
A statement jointly signed by Ismail Omipidan, spokesperson to the minister of Marine and Blue Economy, and Abdullahi Maiwada, Customs spokesman, said that the meeting was held at the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
The focal point of discussion was the strategic integration of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology (NIIT) to bolster operational efficiency in Nigerian Seaports.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of NIIT in actively decongesting ports, the meeting gave the Customs comptroller-general a task, to champion and prioritise cargo scanning over physical examination, and agreed to rectify and optimise all existing scanners at Apapa, Tincan Island, Onne, and PTML. Simultaneously,” the existing mobile scanners will be strategically deployed to facilitate expeditious cargo inspections.”
Fidet Okhiria, managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), who attended virtually, also resolved to ensure a new construction at Apapa and ensure unhindered progression of the scanning process during crucial infrastructure development.
He also pledged commitment to freight cargoes to inland container depots/dry ports, a strategic move to tackle congestion at major ports. The MD also unveiled plans for the efficient evacuation of containers from Port Harcourt to Aba, with future extensions envisaged for Onne Port.