By Aisha Cole
Lagos – The Group Executive Vice Chairman, Sifax Group, Mr Taiwo Afolabi, says scanners at the nation’s ports must be kept functional to enable the Federal Government to achieve 24-hour port operations.
The company’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Mr Muyiwa Akande, in a statement on Friday in Lagos, said that the scanners must always remain functional to ease the pace of Doing Business, in line with the Executive Order recently issued by Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Afolabi said, “The scanners in most ports across the country are in a state that makes it difficult, 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.
“This has left the personnel of the NCS with no other option than to do 100 per cent physical examination of cargoes.
“This comes with huge difficulties, impedes quality and efficient service delivery that the Ease of Doing Business executive order is trying to address,” the Sifax boss said.
He urged the Federal Government to consider the option of concessioning the scanning operations at the ports.
Afolabi said that the current economic realities in the country had made it impracticable for government alone to shoulder the responsibility of providing infrastructure in critical sectors of the economy.
“The model of concessioning is already a success in the maritime sector.
“The last 11 years of private sector involvement in port terminal management had brought great improvement in service delivery.
“I am convinced that such feat could be extended to the scanning service, if the Federal Government will give private investors the opportunity of managing the process,” he said.
Afolabi also noted that functional scanners at the ports were necessary for national security, in view of the recent cases of illegal arms importation through the nation’s seaports.
The Sifax boss said that such illegal importation would have been discovered during cargo examination with the aid of functional scanners.
Afolabi urged the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to strictly enforce the approved number of security and government agencies at the ports.
He added that such would greatly help in fulfilling the ease of doing business at the ports.
By Aisha Cole