Ports scanners vital to 24 hours operations, says Sifax boss
For the Federal Government to achieve the mandate of 24 hours port operations, the Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has stressed the need to revive the ailing cargo scanners at the nation’s seaports.
Afolabi, in a statement signed by the Corporate Affairs Manager, SIFAX Group, Muyiwa Akande, was quoted as saying that scanners in most ports across the country are in a poor state that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the Nigerian Customs Service to discharge its duty of container inspection effectively.
“Most scanners at our ports are either completely broken down or functioning well below installed capacity. This has left the personnel of the Nigerian Customs Service with no other option than to do 100 per cent physical examination of cargoes. This comes with huge difficulties and impedes quality and efficient service delivery that the Ease of Doing Business executive order is trying to address,” he said.
Afolabi therefore urged the Federal Government to consider the option of concessioning, as the current economic reality in the country has made it impracticable for the government alone to shoulder the responsibility of infrastructure provision in critical sectors of the economy.
“The model of concessioning is already a success in the maritime sector. The last 11 years of private sector involvement in port terminal management has brought great improvement to service delivery. I am convinced that such feat could be extended to the scanning service if the Federal Government gives private investors the opportunity of managing the process,” he said.
Aside the improvement in service delivery, Afolabi also noted that functional scanners at the ports are necessary for national security in view of the recent cases of illegal arms importation through the nation’s sea ports.He argued that such illegal importation would have been discovered during cargo examination with the aid of functional scanners.
He also backed the resolve of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to strictly enforce the approved number of security and government agencies at the ports, adding that such would greatly help fulfil the ease of doing business mandate.
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