By Steve Agbota
Barring any last minute change of plans, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is set to deploy three scanners to Apapa, Tin -Can Island and Onne ports complex to facilitate trade and cargo evacuation.
Recall that the service have been engaging in cumbersome 100 per cent cargo examination for some years now due to the breakdown of scanners at the ports.
However, last January, the NCS announced that three new scanners have been purchased by the Ministry of Finance and an additional four to be purchased by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost trade facilitation.
The Customs boss also disclosed that the deployment of the e-Customs components would see to the deployment of 135 modern scanners to enhance border security and boost national trade facilitation. But, speaking on Monday during the tour of some Customs commands in the western zone, the Coordinator, Zone A of the service, Modupe Aremu, said three scanners are expected to arrive at the seaports in two weeks.
According to her, the coming onboard of e-customs will see to the deployment of additional 70 scanners across the various seaports, airports and land borders.
She said: “I am very passionate about scanning and I know that in another two weeks, we are expecting three scanners, one for Apapa, Tin-Can and Onne ports. With the coming onboard of e-customs, we are expecting 70 scanners that will be distributed everywhere and very soon, we will have our scanners functioning.”
The Customs boss, however, warned Nigerians to stop consuming foreign parboiled rice, saying they are responsible for spike in life threatening diseases in the country.
Her words: “Nigerians have to have a rethink and know that not everything imported is good for consumption. Most of this rice smuggled into the country have stayed more than 5 to 10 years in their silos and it has expired before they bring it to Nigeria.
“So, it is not healthy and the outbreak of cancer and all manners of deadly disease are as a result of the consumption of expired rice. So, we preach that Nigeria should have a change of attitude and begin to patronise made in Nigeria rice which is very nutritious,” she added.
She also charged importers to embrace compliance in order to hasten quick evacuation of cargoes from the seaports. “I am telling the importers that compliance is key and when you are compliant, cargo has shorter dwell time with Customs and if there is compliance, there won’t be alert but, a seamless cargo evacuation. We urge the importers to be compliant so, as to have shorter dwell time of cargoes in the seaports.