The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, has said the agency must benefit from the opportunities of new technologies in securing the Nigerian boarders and ports
The customs boss said this on Tuesday at a national conference on Fast-Tracking Port Reforms, organised by the federal ministry of transportation, in collaboration with The Nation Newspapers and Epsilon Limited in Abuja.
Mr Ali explained that Nigerian ports have been ranked poor by major agencies, adding that its important for the customs to strengthen its security ports and borders.
”Over the years, our port system have been adjured poor performance by major right agencies in terms of its competence, in terms of its strategic importance to the realization of the economic growth and recovery plan.
He said there is need to then work together to present a united strong against post character on the rules to compromise our system. He added that the agency must expound on the opportunities presented by the new technologies to fast track complainant traders and punish the offenders.
He also explained that the means of improving security at Nigerian Customs is to carry out assessment and impose heavy sanctions on offenders.
”We have been strengthening our capacity to investigate offences against our laws and impose heavy sanctions that has deterrent factors.
”One way to improve our performance is actually to carry out an assessment of our operations identify areas where we have made progress and those were we still have lapses,” he said.
Also at the event, Mr Ali recalled that last year, the federal government issued the Ease of Doing Business executive order, E01 in Nigeria, adding that the order has helped bring efficiency to the ports.
”The Federal Government of Nigeria last year issued ease of doing business executive order E01, in far reaching major to improve business environment for port officials.
”The order imposes collective obligations on most stakeholders to work together to induce (and) observe orderliness in our operations, achieve faster processing of cargo’s clearance streamlining of procedures, and fight corrupt practices in our ports.
”One year on this contract offers us the opportunity to take a (stock) of our performance and reflect on the progress made in our attempt to bring efficiencies to the ports.
”You may also recall that in course of last year, criminal elements attempted to exploit the movement in the ports system.
Mr Ali said the customs and other stakeholders had launched a training workshop to measure the time of goods arrival in ports.
”Under the methodology of world customs organisation, Nigerian customs service, last week, in collaboration with our stakeholders, launched a time study body tool for trade facilitation.
”The study is expected to scientifically measure the time taken in clearing the goods between the time of arrival in the ports using the Apapa ports.
According to him, the study would under take an assessment of the clearance business process, collect survey, analyse data and publish result.
”The scope of the study would charge a road map from Lagos as a collective implementation to achieve faster clearance,” he added.
”I am happy to announce that the working group comprising of all stakeholders are currently undergoing a workshop in Lagos and I was in Lagos to inaugurate the committee.
”In the customs service, we believe that is the key in ensuring that everything that comes through the sea to our land in a container are properly secured.
”We are working hard with government to ensure we have enough scanners in the next couple of months in our ports, boarder entries and airports, which is an ongoing project.
He said he was hopeful that scanners would be at all the point of entries, next year.
The Customs boss however noted that that the one of the agency biggest challenges are the traders non compliance.
”Our biggest problem is noncompliance. Our traders do not comply.
“We are leveraging with shippers council to see how we can come up and ensure that every shipping company must be responsible for the content of any goods.
”We assure you we are working diligently to have scanners deployed in every port.”