By Godwin Oritse
THE Managing Director of the three scanning service providers, Globalsan Systems, Mr Fred Udechukwu has called for an extension ofÂ the contract with the Federal Government’s Destination Inspection project saying that â€œthe service providers have done well to get an extended contract so as to recoup their investmentsâ€.
In an interview with Vanguard, Udechukwu stated that as the only indigenous company involved in the scheme, it has demonstrated a high level of professionalism. The firm which currently has over 150 Nigerians on its pay roll also has no expatriate working for it.
Udechukwu explained that the company faced some challenges during the initial stage of the project, adding that as time went on, operations got better. â€œHaving demonstrated goodwill, professionalism and patriotism, we should get our contract extended,â€ he stated.
The Globalscan boss also said that the huge financial outlay of the project was one of the biggest challenges they had to deal with coupled with getting the right personnel for the right position.
His words: â€œThe greatest challenge we had was the teething problem, you know that whenever you start a new and big project like the Destination Inspection Scheme, there will be problems at the initial stage.
â€œThe first major problem we had was the very huge initialÂ capital/cost outlay, you know we were expected to buy scanners with particular specification and some of these scanners worth as much as $6 million each and we were expected to have seven of such scanners.
â€œWe have six installed and one on standby in case of any breakdown. So initially, to raise such a huge amount for these equipment, to generate the site for them, and to get the right caliber of staff, particularly Nigerians working in inspection companies, shipping firms and logistics firms from other parts of the world, was also a major problem we had to face.
â€œWhen we got these Nigerians from all corners of the world, we nowÂ recruited fresh graduates to understudy them because initially, arranging to get the technical partners to train them was a problem.
â€œAfter the first year and second year, we got used to each other that the technical partners now come here two or three times a year to train our men.
â€œAnother problem was the resistance from the men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). initially the Customs were apprehensive, they thought we were coming to take over their job, but I think in the last two, three years, they have seen that we have come to complement their job and even professionalize them more and increase their knowledge of the scheme .
â€œThis is the new trend in the world in inspection so we have to key in if we will not be left behind in the global economy.â€
The Destination Inspection scheme came into effect about three and half years ago and a contract was signed between Cotecna, SGS and Globalscan system on a Built-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) basis.