The Executive Vice Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi has said that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s executive order on the ease of doing business and the realization of 24 hours operation at the port will fail except functional scanners are installed at the seaports.
Afolabi said the scanners in most ports across the country are in a state that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the Nigeria Customs Service to discharge its duty of container inspection effectively.
“Most scanners at our ports are either completely broken down or functioning well below installed capacity. This has left the personnel of the Nigeria Customs Service with no other option than to do 100 percent physical examination of cargoes. This comes with huge difficulties and impedes quality and efficient service delivery that the Ease of Doing Business executive order is trying to address.” Afolabi said.
In order to address the problem of faulty scanners, Afolabi urged the Federal Government to consider the option of concessioning as the current economic reality in the country has made it impracticable for the government alone to shoulder the responsibility of infrastructure provision in critical sectors of the economy.
“The model of concessioning is already a success in the maritime sector. The last 11 years of private sector involvement in port terminal management has brought great improvement to service delivery. I am convinced that such feat could be extended to the scanning service if the Federal Government gives private investors the opportunity of managing the process,” he said.
Aside the improvement in service delivery, he noted that functional scanners at the ports are necessary for national security in view of the recent cases of illegal arms importation through the nation’s sea ports. He argued that such illegal importation would have been discovered during cargo examination with the aid of functional scanners.
Also, he backed the resolve of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to strictly enforce the approved number of security and government agencies at the ports, adding that such would greatly help fulfil the ease of doing business mandate.
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