ABUJA: The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has urged the Federal Government to install functioning scanning machines to enable it to enhance its operations. The Comptroller, Port Harcourt Area II Command, Abubakar Bashir made the call at the weekend at Onne, Rivers State. Bashir, who was giving an update on the activities of the command from January to June 2017, said the machine would help the officers to thoroughly perform their duties. He explained that all cargos are currently examined physically before release, which is often tedious and ineffective, especially as most containers are machine-packed at the point of origin.
He said: “To manually un-stuff containers for physical examination is fraught with a myriad of challenges. This is more so, when the items are very heavy or packed in a way that makes examining and reloading them difficult. “It is for this reason that it has become necessary to address the issues concerning the scanning machines which have not been functioning for sometime. “A functioning scanner would expedite the examination of containers, enhance the performance capacity of the service and help us to key into the Federal Government’s initiative of the ease of doing business.” Bashir explained that the command generates between N1.8 billion and N2 billion every week, adding that N44 billion was generated within the period under review. He described the figures as encouraging, as it was higher than the total revenue collected during the same period last year. The comptroller disclosed that the command in January this year seized 11 containers containing illegally imported pharmaceuticals. He said the proactive efforts of his command in blocking revenue leakages, made it possible to achieve the feat. Bashir added that the seized goods had been handed over to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for evaluation and destruction. He further explained that the command recorded about N64 million through the export of various items like kaolin, cashew nuts and granular urea. He identified the overlapping of inter-agency activities and non-compliance to the law by importers and exporters, as some of the command’s challenges.