A number of port operators have attributed the significant rise in Federal Government revenue from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), particularly the Apapa Area One Command of the Service, to a reduction in the physical examination of cargoes at the port.
The reduction in the rate of physical examination at the port suggests that most of the consignments coming to port are being scanned.
Physical examination, no doubt is cumbersome, expensive, time and energy wasting.
If more containers pass through the scanners, this will keep the importers waiting less and also induce some form of efficiency into the clearing system, thereby making it faster, cheaper and better for everybody.
As at our last time check, physical examination took up to about 70 per cent of containers imported into the country and that is not good enough for the country’s economy.
We need to reduce the rate of physical examination drastically, if we are going to achieve efficiency at the ports.
The NCS should strive so that the county does not have more than 30 per cent physical examination while every other thing goes through scanning.
The nation can indeed achieve this, because the scanning capability to handle this is available in the country.
For instance, if everybody travelling through the airport has to undergo physical examination there will be congestion at the airport, which equally applies to the Nigerian seaports.
We think that the best thing is to do random check on containers coming into the country, but, even as Custom tries to minimise the rate of physical examination, there is also the need for honesty on the part of importers and their clearing agents.
On several occasions, the NCS has had cause to complain that the high rate of physical examination at the ports is due to untrue declarations and concealments on the part of importers and their agents.
If the virtue of honesty is imbibed by importers and agents, the level at which physical examination will be carried out will be highly reduced.
If the rate of physical examination drops to at least 30 per cent, the ports will record outstanding quantities of cargoes clearing the facilities in record time.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.