Barring any last minute change, the Nigeria Customs Service may soon engage the services of maintenance experts to fix the faulty scanners at the nation’s seaports and possibly acquire new ones, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY has learnt.
The move follows incessant complaints from clearing agents and freight forwarders over the poor state of the scanning machines, which had been a major challenge not only to importers and agents but also to Customs officers who had to resort to 100 percent physical examination of containers at the port.
The Technical Director in charge of scanning at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Assistant Controller Paul Ekpenyong, while speaking on the conditions of the scanners at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos last week, confirmed that only the fixed scanner was in good condition while the mobile scanner had “packed up”.
He however expressed optimism that the all the faulty scanners at the ports at border posts would soon be made functional, as the Customs Comptroller-General had directed concerned unit heads to submit detailed report on the status of all the scanners in the port.
He said, “We have just finished an assignment he (Comptroller-General) gave to us to assess the status of all the scanners in the country and we have already submitted the report. Hopefully, plans are on the way to engage those that will put all the scanners back on track.”
Zonal Coordinator in charge of Zone ‘A’, Assistant Comptroller Charles Edike, while addressing reporters recently in Lagos had also said that the NCS was making efforts to ensure that the scanners are working and the obsolete ones replaced.
He said, “The CGC is already discussing on acquiring new scanners with some people and I am sure that in a short while all of that will be sorted out.
“When the service providers were leaving, they gave us rotten scanners. They were bad, Customs does not have any agreement with the manufacturers, it was the service providers that had agreement with them, and so Customs was not able meet the manufacturers to come and do the servicing.
“In servicing, there is grade one, two and three. We can do grade one and two but the highest grade must be done by the manufacturers.
“But currently efforts are being made to get all the scanners in place. I must also let you know that the current CGC has done so much to get these scanners back to work.”
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