Comptroller Auwal, Fraudulent Importers And Agents Nightmare, Fear Use Of Scanner At The Ports

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 By Stephen Ubanna

Importers with their agents who think they can frustrate the workings of the new scanner delivered to Onne Command in September 16, 2021, but which had been upgraded with the installation of a new software and subsystems would be disappointed. Until the scanner was upgraded, Compt. Auwal Mohammed, the PortHarcourt Area 11, Area Controller had prepared the mind of the officers for the use of scanners stressing that the use of the scanner in the inspection of Containers at the port would speed up their work. He was optimistic that with the deployment of the scanner it would double their Contaier inspection. He had made the officers to understand that if they were inspecting 100 containers daily through physical inspection, it would increase to 200 with the deployment of the scanner.

Perhaps, due   technical errors it could not be deployed for operations immediate as it has lie idle at the port until the error was rectified this year.  With the installation of a new software on three new scanners that were procured from The Asian country of China last year, at a cost of $18.12milion  and local component cost of  inclusive of five percent VAT. N3.255. An elated Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning   had said that  the deployment of the scanners at Onne and the Lagos port OF Apapa , which has Comptroller Malata Yusuf and Tincan Island             port under the close watch watch of Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede,  will ‘’help  ease  the activities  of the Customs  and other security agencies inspection agents as well as reduce  delays  that  has caused operational challenges at the port.  Recall that the initial plan was to install one of the new scanners at Port HarcourtArea I, Command but it was diverted to Apapa Customs Command, which insiders had said handles over 50% of the volume of cargoes coming into Nigerian ports  put together.

Installed Scanner At Onne Port For Trade Facilitation

As a prelude to ensuring total Compliance to the to the use of the scanner facility installed at the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island and the south east port of Onne,  Galadima Saidu, an Assistant Comptroller General of Customs  in charge of the sevice  Inormation, Communication Technology, ICT /Modernisation and  Compliance , at the instance of Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel and Comptroller General , Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, had on Tuesday, March 8, 2022,  organization a sensitization meeting  between Customs personnel at Onne Command and the terminal Operators,  Imorters with their agents and other industry stakeholders at the port.  The sensitization Campaign for the Standard Ooperating Procedure of the upgraded scanners was extended to the Lagos Area Commands of Apapa and Tin-can Island on Thursday, March 10, 2022.

ACG Saidu, as Computer guru in Customs circles had taken one message to the participants SOD Forum for the upgraded scanners at the Onne and the Lagos ports. The Customs ACG had said that the genuine traders have no cause toworry about being physically present to monitor the inspection of their cargoes in the Non-Intrusive inspection regime where 400 Containers  could be scanned daily.

According to him   each Container scanning  could be  completed  within 45 seconds and analysed within few minutes, which many believe is much faster than the manual process. The Customs ICT, guru had said that in purchasing the scanners for deployment for scanning operations at the Nigerian ports  Ali, the Customs Comptroller General, has one major objective in mind: To make the NCS,  one of the best Customs Administrations in the world with up to date and reliable technology  that would save time  and generate more revenue for the government at the ports.

He may have sent a message to fraudulent importers with their agents who might want to sabotage the operation of the canners at the south eat port port of Onne and the Lagos ports that  the Customs  has ‘’the qualified  electrical,  mechanical  and other categories of Engineers to manage  and operate the scanners , noting that the  Customs canning system has been ‘’configured into the Nigeria  Customs  Information System, NCISII Platform, meaning that there is no room for fraudulent importers with their agents. It is not surprising why they fear the use of the scanner equipment at the port as most of them still prefer the manual where they could easily maneuver  their way  and exit their Contraband cargo  out of the port.

Appealing to the importers with their agents to be compliant  and avoid cases of wrong classification of their cargoes, false declaration, underpayment and Concealment in the guise of making cutthroat profits to avoid running into trouble  as their Contained might be detained and subsequently seized if found guilty.   The Customs ICT Chief declared: We need 100% compliance from the importers with the clearing agents , insisting  that ‘’any compliance level  that is short  of that 100% is non- compliance and will not be tolerated.He may have  gladdened the heart of the importers when disclosed   that anyone who is compliant enough at the ports in all his transactions  will be’’ upgraded to blue lane’’.

Compt. Mohammed, PortHarcourt Area II , Command, Onne

Until the Customs ACG, embarked on the sensitization at the ports on the Standard Operating Procedure of the upgraded scanners Comptroller Mohammed has made Compliance by the importers with their agents a watch ord. He had blocked all the revenue loopholes that had been exploited in the past by   the non-compliant importers which had continued to increase the Command monthly revenue collection at the port even under the manual inspection process.  The Command had generated N188.6 billion for the government in in 2021 fiscal year, which insiders had said was more than the target set for the Command that year.

Compt. Oloyede: ICT Guru And Area Controller, Tin-can Island Command

With the planned deployment of the upgraded scanner which had been idle since September 16, 2021, and now and the Customs revenue target of N4.1 trillion for the2022 fiscal year, meaning an increase in its revenue target for the year, Comptroller Auwal who is used to surpassing the Command weekly and monthly revenue targets, will perform much better to the admiration of Nigerians. Even Comptroller Oloyede off Tincan Island Command, also described in Customs circles as an ICT guru, was said to have also perfected plans to take advantage of the deployment of the new scanner installed at the Tin-can Island port to increase the Command weekly and monthly revenue targets. .  

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