The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on Friday said that it was now prepared and equipped to take over from service providers handling the Destination Inspection services at the ports.
The Public Relations Officer, Tin Can Island Port Command of NCS, Mr Chris Osunkwo, told journalists in Lagos that officers of the service had been duly trained to handle the assignment professionally.
“Operationally, we are very prepared to take over the assignment from the service providers, because we have undergone various kinds of training. We are not afraid of any shortcoming because we now have the knowledge and the technical know-how to operate and manage the work tools,” he said.
Osunkwo said that officers who had undergone training had also been working with the service providers to get practical experience on what to do.
“For a long time now, our officers have been deployed to complement the work of the service providers. We have been working hand-in-hand with them over time. Even if they quit today, we will not have hitches because it has been integrated into part of what we do,” Osunkwo said.
He also said that preparations for the take over exercise included putting in place all materials and logistics for effective continuity.
The Dec. 31, 2012 expiration of the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis of the seven-year contract for the service providers was initially extended to June 30, 2013.
The Federal Government granted the service providers another extension till Nov. 30, with the believe that the NCS would take over the scanning machines by Dec.1.
Osunkwo also talked about delays in cargo clearance, saying that examining heterogeneous imports could be time-consuming.
“By nature of our growing economy, majority of our importers embark on heterogeneous imports, and that can cause delays sometimes. This is unlike when the bulk of the imports are homogenous,” he said.
The customs spokesman advised importers and their agents to always make honest declarations to avoid wasting time during the cargo clearance process.
“There must be very honest declaration by the importer or his agent. It is important to do this in order to achieve the 48-hour clearance target. If the declaration tallies with what is inside the container, it makes the work faster, but if not, it creates difficulties,” Osunkwo
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