- A modern container scanner
Umbrella body of the port concessionaires, the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), has condemned the continued 100 per cent manual inspection of cargoes at the terminals by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in spite of the advancement in scanning technology.
The situation is even worse with the present Covid-19 pandemic, as the required social distancing is lacking, while documentation and cargo release could well have been seamlessly done online by the consignees, STOAN Chairperson, Princess Vicky Haastrup, said.
Haastrup regretted that in the current arrangement, “people must visit the port to do customs documentation and cargo examination before they can take delivery of their consignments. This is not safe at this time and it is also inefficient.
“The Nigeria Customs Service should do everything possible to install functional scanners at the ports to reduce the high rate of physical examination of cargoes and human contact.”
According to her, “there is also the need to reduce the number of government agencies that participate in cargo examination at the port, and the number of checks carried out on cleared cargoes, both inside and outside the port premises. Customs’ clearing process must become smart.”
Meanwhile, she tasked the Federal Government on increased export to improve balance of trade in view of the country’s declining crude oil fortunes, stressing that “Nigeria must move quickly from being a net importer to a net exporter of food.
“Government will need to support farmers for better agricultural yield that will be attractive to the international market. The farmers will also need to be supported in reducing wastages during harvests and in the course of getting their produce to the market.
“Funding and logistics support for the farmers is also of great importance at this time, while adequate storage, inventory management and transportation are key logistics that represent the most serious constraints to our agric export today.
“These will need to be addressed by governments at all levels, and also simplify the cumbersome process and unnecessary bureaucratic bottleneck associated with documentation and processing of export cargoes at our ports.”