The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is worried over fraudulent importers and clearing agents operating at the nation’s sea ports which is giving the nation tough times.
The Service disclosed this yesterday in Apapa, Lagos, during the sensitisation programme it organised for the stakeholders in the maritime industry on Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) Standard Operating Procedure.
Speaking at the event, Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs on Modernisation and ICT, Saidu Galadima said hard times are awaiting fraudulent importers that are always trying to misinterpret and twist import transaction values in order to evade or shortchange government during duty valuation on imported cargoes.
He said the scanning regime is set to commence at the nation’s sea ports and will be handling not less than 400 containers on a daily basis.
According to him, the scanners will enjoy four hours of rest every day and they are very environmental friendly and will save time to boost trade facilitation programme of the Federal Government.
His words: “This sensitisation is very key to the success of the non-intrusive technology that Customs is set to commence at the ports. The management of the NCS has directed us to come and sensitise you, the stakeholders on the flow of how the new scanner regime will operate.
“The essence behind the new technology is based on trade facilitation. Only compliant traders will celebrate. If you are compliant enough, you won’t have any contact with any Customs officer. Cargoes will be released without anybody needing to go to any Customs office.”
“On who will be managing the scanners, we have qualified Customs officers who will be manning them. Although, the manufacturer, under our agreement with them, will station their technical personnel to oversee the running of the scanners, which are brand new; our officers have been trained to man those scanners.
“On capacity, the scanners will scan 400 containers daily with four hours to rest. For every 20 feet container, the scanner will take an average of 35 seconds each to scan. For every 40ft container, the scanners will scan them at an average of 55 seconds each.”
The scanners, he said have been configured into “our NICIS 2 platform. During image analysis, clearing agents won’t have any business there. The image analysis area will be a ‘no go’ zone for agents. The scanning area will be a controlled area. We won’t allow people loitering there.
“For physical examination, we aim to ensure that the scanning percentage will be higher than the number of containers that will be subjected to physical examination.
“We all have to make it work. If agents decide to cut corners, they will bear the cost of delay associated with a physical examination. So, being compliant will benefit all of us.
“The scanning will be run on the shift of morning, afternoon and perhaps night, depending on the flow of business.”