The present state of the scanning equipment at the ports which has led to an influx of contraband into country, highlighting the need to reassess, the Trade Facilitating Tool (Scanner, VSAT and IT platform by auditing the state of the breakdown scanners, which are provided by the service providers under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement with the Federal Government for it to be maintained and put back into operation.
The acquisition of the Scanner was contracted under the Destination Inspection Scheme between the Federal government of Nigeria and Some Service providers, namely: Cotecna, SGS and Global Scan on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis, for a period of seven years from the 1st of January 2006 to 31st December 2012., which was finally extended for one year by the Federal government.
The agreement for the provision, installation, operation and management of x-ray scanning Equipment and software for examination of goods between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Cotecna Inspection Limited, Societe general de surveillance (SGS) and Global ScanSystems Limited is as contained in Articles 4 to 4.3 which provides for ownership of equipment during the duration of the contract and the transfer to federal government.
However, the present state of scanners shows the total neglect from the government agency who supervised the transfer especially, that there is the accommodation of (6) months maintenance, labour and spare parts, after handover which should have transferred almost a new equipment to the government going by the provisions in the agreement that requires any faulty parts to be replaced.
The Federal Government inaugurated the Reconstituted Task Force on the Reform of Nigeria Customs Service to harmonize the previous reports to evolve a blue print for the adopted recommendation and guide the implementation of the reform and the transaction.
The recommendation of the Presidential Task Force on the reform of Nigeria Customs Service includes the adopted time line for smooth transition from the service providers to Nigeria Customs Service, which was stalled by Nigeria Customs Management due to the expected positive changes.
The timetable for activities for smooth transition especially on Scanners accommodated and developed by the Presidential Task Force includes the following process before handover of the scanners:
(i) Scanner Preventive Maintenance Requirements (PMI)
(ii) Requires the Presidential Task Force, Service provider and Nigeria Customs Service to conduct joint preliminary inventory check of equipment at scanners sites, which will be transferred to Nigeria Customs Service in Q4/2012
(iii) Service providers to submit to NCS recommendation for suppliers of the following service relating to the maintenance of the scanners, which will become NCS responsibility as from July 2013
(iv) Servicing and emergency corrective maintenance of Mercedes truck platform of mobile scanner.
(v) Servicing and emergency corrective maintenance of hydraulics systems
(vi) Servicing and emergency corrective maintenance of power generators.
(vii) By June 2012, service providers together with the Task force to conduct operational Audit to review progress and identify any corrective action.
(viii) Servicing and emergency maintenance of specialized industrial Air-condition system (scanner AC units are specialized industrial units requiring specialized gases)
(ix) Service providers, manufacturer agreement for maintenance of Scanner (labour and spare parts) for six months
(x) Task Force/ Nigeria Custom to supervise the physical handover of training modules, telecom, IT based equipment, maintenance procedure on all building, air conditioners, generators, help desk, work stations. Electronic trade platform operations, e-based Customs monitoring and clearance operation, etc.
(xi) An audit of all equipment and assets to be handed over by service provider should be carried out by expert under the supervision of the Presidential Task force, Nigeria Customs Service
The Transition plan by the Reconstituted Presidential Task Force on the Reform of Nigeria Custom Service if properly followed should have averted the complete breakdown of the Scanners and other facilitating tool in the Destination Inspection process.
Perhaps, it is time for expert auditing of the scanners in the port to engineer reforms that should change the state of the scanners and led to proper examination systems for the Customs.