President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero has faulted the Chairman Senate committee on Customs and Excise, Hope Uzodinma that terminal operators should be responsible for provisions of scanners used for examinations at the ports.
Uzodinma had stated that it was not the responsibility of Customs to provide scanners at the port but due to poor regulatory environment, the NCS sees it as its duty.
But speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Apapa on Thursday, Amiwero argued that nowhere in the world do terminal operators supply scanners for Customs examination at the ports.
“Scanners are security documents and trade tools under the World Customs Organization (WCO). It is a national project and not a thing to be supplied by private sector. It is never done anywhere in the world,” he said.
He said there was actually no need to procure new scanners but to repair the existing ones noting that the problem with the scanning machines at the port is that they do not have software to detect ammunition.
He said the present scanners are solely for revenue generation rather than for security purposes.
Amiwero added that the challenges experienced with the scanners was due to the fact that there was no proper transition plan before customs took over destination inspection from the erstwhile service providers.
“The problem with the scanners is because they were not transferred properly. If they were transferred properly, the maintenance; spare parts and the labour should have given us new scanners. But because we are in a hurry that is why we are in the state we are today.
“We requested the service providers then in 2011 that they should supply the software for security. We can still do that in the scanners we have now so that it can access things like drugs and ammunition.
“The scanners we have now are for revenue which is not the purpose of the scanners. What we need is two types of scanners, one for revenue and one for security,” he said.
Amiwero also spoke on the need to improve trade processes in the country.
He requested that the Senate Committee also help address the issue of overlapping functions between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Ministry of Finance.
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