Reps lament Nigeria’s waste of $6m monthly on Web Fontaine

Assessing the work of Web Fontaine, the House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise has scored the firm, which powers the Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDA), very low.
Accusing Web Fontaine of deficient services, the legislators lamented that the Federal Government pays the firm $6 million monthly without commensurate investment and efficiency in the system from the firm. Chairman of the committee, Honourable Sabo Nakudu, gave the lawmakers’ opinion of Web Fontaine Monday, when he led members of the committee on an inspection tour of scanning services in view of the six months extension the Federal Government granted service providers in the destination inspection (DI) scheme in the nation’s cargo clearance process.
The lawmakers’ visit was also to ascertain the preparedness of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to fully take charge of the DI scheme. Nakudu, who frowned at the problem of inter-connectivity which came up in virtually all the Customs commands visited by the committee in Lagos, said that the volume of investment by Web Fontaine at the NCS Apapa Area One Command is very poor compared to how much the firm collects from government.

“I keep hearing Web Fontaine everywhere I go. Just look at what you have here, very few computers, one scanner, dilapidated air-conditioners etc. And you collect $6 million from government every month, whereas the whole investment here is even not up to N2 million,” Nakudu remarked at the ASYCUDA Office in the Customs Apapa Area One Command. He also faulted the firm for not remodeling the system till date when the contract was slated to expire in December 2012.
Nakudu stated: “When where you planning to remodel the system? Were you waiting till after your contract has expired? Are you conscious of the fact that Apapa Area One Command is the number one revenue generator for government and you did not deem it necessary to remodel it? You were given a job that is supposed to expire by December, and also supposed to be remodeled, yet you are still trying to remodel in January 2013?”In response, representatives of Web Fontaine explained that Apapa had been upgraded, but needs another remodelling. The legislators toured scanning operations site in both the Lagos Ports Complex (LPC), and the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC), both in Apapa, meeting with officials of Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited (CDIL) and Global Scansystems Limited, two out of the three service providers providing scanning services, risk management assessment, and capacity building for the NCS under the DI scheme.
The trio earlier had a seven-year contract with the Federal Government on build own operate and transfer (BOOT) arrangement.
That contract was extended for six months, following its scheduled expiration December 31, 2012.

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