Federal Government has constituted a committee to work out modernities for the transition of functions presently performed by the Service Providers engaged to assist the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in risk assessment and scanning of imports into the country, even as the Service Providers have called on government to fully involve the Customs in the transition process.
The committee which comprises of officials of the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria, the Service Providers and some others is said to have commenced work.
A source close to the committee told Vanguard that government decision to set constitute the committee may not be unconnected to put its house in order before the contract with the Service Providers expires (Cotecna Destination Inspection Nigeria Limited, SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited and Global Scan Systems Ltd) in 2012.
The Service Providers were engaged in 2006 by government to assist operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the discharge of some aspect of it function, such as risk assessment, scanning imported goods and training of Customs personal.
Part of the condition in the contract with the federal government makes it compulsory for the Service Providers to ensure that the NCS gets the necessary training to equip them to take over the function at the expiration of the contract in two years time.
Meanwhile, an official of one of the Service Operators who spoke with Vanguard, complained about the exclusion of Customs from the committee, stressing the need for the inclusion since they are the ones to perform the function of risk assessment and scanning of imports into the country.
The official noted that their company would make it a point of duty to make representation to the appropriate authority for the Customs to be represented adequately in the committee.
Cotecna, like other Service Providers are presently involved in trade facilitation and security solutions to government and trade communities powered by risk management, valuation, X-ray scanning and verification services, which collect, verify and process advanced cargo information at pre-clearance stages.