The Federal Government is set to spend over N688.56 billion ($1.812 billion) for the acquisition of over 300 scanners for the nation’s ports and entry points for a digital examination of cargoes and other items imported into the country.
The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, has been functioning on physical examination since 2016, a situation which had worsened congestions at the nation’s ports while casting shadows over the efficiency and integrity of the process.
The Federal Executive Council, FEC, recently approved the acquisition of three scanners at $18.12 million and the Customs authorities have disclosed that they would soon take delivery them.
The government’s intention to acquire the 300 scanners was disclosed at a virtual stakeholders’ meeting on Apapa traffic situation, earlier this week chaired by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Comptroller General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), said three scanners approved by the Federal Government would soon be procured and installed at Apapa Port to improve service efficiency.
A statement by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, said that the Customs boss noted that the installation of the 300 scanners at other critical entry points of the country will be facilitated when the National Single Trade Window comes into full swing.
Recall that the Federal Executive Council (FEC), had approved the purchase of scanners for the Port Harcourt Onne and Tin Can Island ports to fast tract ports operations.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who announced this after the meeting of the Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the contract was previously approved by council in 2018 for the supply and installation of three numbers Rapsican mobile cargo scanner.
According to her, “These are large size cargo scanners that will be placed in Onne port, Port Harcourt port and Tin Can port. They are scanners that can actually drive containers through. That will fasten inspection and assist the Customs to open containers and do the physical inspection as they are doing now that is causing us a lot of time as well as a loss of revenue
This contract is awarded to a company that is named Messrs Airwave limited and the contract is in the sum of $18.12 million of foreign component, there is also a local component of N3. 255 billion inclusive of five percent VAT.
She revealed that the review became necessary in order to accommodate VAT which was not included in the initial contract and also due to dispute that we had arising from exchange rate differential.
“So we have now a resolution and an understanding and FEC approval for this contract to go on.”
The scanners are designed to aid effective revenue collection, the features that will screen for narcotics, weapons, and undeclared items, they can also dictate arms and ammunition, legal importation and possession of arms and Light Weapons in Nigeria.