Scanners Slowing Down Transactions At Seaport – Ajuzie


…Moves for more containers to undergo physical examination 

A former Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Apapa chapter, Dr. Fred Ajuzie has said that instead of speeding up transactions as expected, the scanners deployed at the seaports by the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS are slowing down transactions.

Ajuzie who stated this in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently observed that rather than enhancing ease of doing business and creating a cost effective business environment, scanners are making clearing of goods at the ports more cumbersome.

He faulted the situation where the whole of Apapa port with the volume of cargo it witnesses daily, has only one scanning machine, describing it as counterproductive and time wasting

According to him, “Scanning side is an issue, the ICT people programmed it in such a way that if you capture any work, you go for scanning. Almost 70 percent of people who capture their work go for scanning and we are talking of facilitating trade. It is assumed that scanners will fast track business at the port but now, instead of scanner fast tracking, we are experiencing delays and the people operating the scanner make it look like they are doing the right thing which is not so.

“Physical examination is faster. Why are you sending 70 percent of containers to scanner, meanwhile, the scanning machine we have is a mobile scanner, it cannot scan, APMT is still dictating how many containers that are scanned a day which is about 120 containers maximum and the minimum you can get us about 90 container a day and people have close to 1,000 containers to scan.

“Apapa port alone ought to have up to four or five scanners to meet up with the demand but you have only one scanning machine for the whole of Apapa port. If your container enters scan, you book and APMT will bring a truck and the trucks are very few. When you have one thousand containers to scan, and you have twenty trucks to carry one thousand containers, how many days will it take you to scan?

“Go to the scanning side, you will see crowd, meanwhile, at the physical examination side, which is the general cargo side, you will only see a few people and they have more officers. Are they not the same customs officers? When there was no scanner, officers in the scanning seat were involved in physical examination and now that there’s scanner, APMT is regulating it and they have few vehicles to carry boxes to scan because it is only when the carry the container to the scanning side that your container will be scanned.

“So, we are having a lot of issues in that place. The idea of having scanners at the port is being defeated. Since the deployment of scanners, how many uncustomed goods have it detected? It is still at the general cargo that they are discovering whatever they had discovered. They should send more containers to the physical examination than they send to the scanner. I am not saying that they should not scan but since we have one scanner, they should send more consignments to physical examination.

“One mobile scanner is giving us a maximum of 120 containers in a day, if we have two, maybe, we may get up to 240 or at most 300. So, if you have about 1,000 containers, it may take you two days to finish scanning but in this case, it is only one and sometimes, the scanner will break down. So, we have an issue and that issue should be addressed and the Assistant Comptroller General has directed them to reroute most of these containers for effective service delivery but they are yet to implement it”, he said.

Photo: Dr. Fred Ajuzie, MD/CEO, Pat-Fuze Investment Limited.

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