By Nse Anthony-Uko
(Sundiata Post) – For port users to enjoy the gains of 24-hour port operations, which recently took effect in the nation’s seaports in line with the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ contained in the Executive Order signed by Yemi Osinbajo, the acting President, the scanners at the nation’s ports must be replaced or repaired to become functional, Taiwo Afolabi, group executive/vice chairman of SIFAX Group, says. A statement issued at the weekend by Muyiwa Akande, corporate affairs manager of SIFAX Group, quoted Afolabi saying that the scanners in most ports across the country were not in a good state, making it dfiicult, if not impossible, for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to discharge its duty of container inspection effectively.
“Most scanners at our ports are either completely broken down or functioning well below installed capacity. his has left the personnel of the Customs with no other option than to do 100 percent physical examination of cargoes. his comes with huge diiculties and impedes quality and efficient service delivery, which the Ease of Doing Business executive order is trying to address,” according to the statement.
In order to address the problem of faulty scanners, Afolabi urged the Federal Government to consider the option of concessioning as the current economic reality in the country had made it impracticable for the government alone to shoulder the responsibility of infrastructure provision in critical sethe economy. “The model of concessioning is already a success in the maritime sector. he last 11 years of private sector involvement in port terminal management has brought great improvement to service delivery. I am convinced that such feat could be extended to the scanning service if the Federal Government gives private investors the opportunity of managing the process again,” he said.
The SIFAX boss also pointed that functional scanners at the ports are necessary for national security in view of the recent cases of illegal arms importation through the nation’s seaports. He argued that such illegal importation of arms would have been discovered during cargo examination with the aid of functional scanners.