Wednesday, June 19Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine

Terminal Operators, Not Govt Should Provide Scanners at Entry Points…Fmr Customs Chief.

Mallam H. B . Ahmed

A former Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Mallam H. B . Ahmed has condemned in the strongest possible terms, the recent approval of over N600b by the Federal Excutive Council for the procurement of scanners at the nation’s Seaports and other entry points. The former Customs Chief who spoke exclusively with our correspondent said ” it is the responsibility of terminal operators to render such a Service, and not the government. Scanners like cranes and forklifts are some of the services required to be provided by Terminal Operators.

This is what is applicable in other climes and Nigeria should not be an exception ” he said. Mallam Ahmed who is well respected and regarded as one of the most grounded Ex Customs Chiefs said it was unpatriotic to make government deploy very scarce resources into a scheme that in all intents and purposes should be private sector driven.

The Ex Customs Chief also spoke on the need for the Customs management to deploy enough resources into the training of its officers and men. Said he” I am pained that officers are not regularly being updated on their working tools in line with global best practices”. Training and retraining he said should be a continous process. On the introduction of e-Auction by the current Customs management, he suggested that auction of seized and overtime cargoes should be decentralized rather than the present practice where the process is centralized in Abuja. He wants Area Controllers and Zonal Offices to be charged with such responsibility as was the case in the past.He explained that since it is the responsibility of the Nigeria Customs Service to collect duty to the last kobo, it was morally wrong and against the spirit and letter of good business management to auction seized and overtime goods at give away prices. ” We are losing billions in revenue to this obnoxious practice. I want to appeal to the NCS management to take a second look the process”, he concluded