By Godfrey Bivbere
Cotecna Destination Inspection Limited (CDIL) has said that it has so far issued 505,298 Risk Assessment Reports and received 408,351 â€œForm Msâ€ from prospective importers since 2006 when it commenced operations in the country.
Disclosing this at a two day sensitization workshop on Destination Inspection scheme organized by the Finance Ministry for importers and other stakeholders in the maritime industry, Managing Director ofÂ CDIL, Mr. Adetayo Yahya Rabiu, said out of theÂ â€œForm Msâ€ so far received, it rejected 81,663 on account of trade abnormalities during the period under review.
Rabiu explained that since the Federal government discarded the earlier Pre-shipment Inspection(PI) for Destination Inspection (DI), the organization has also received 615,453 final import documents of trade transactions out of which it had to reject 128,271 owing to a number of anomalies on the part ofÂ importers.
Rabiu who also indicated the companyâ€™s readiness to quit the stage in year 2013 by handing over its facilities to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in line with its terms of contract with government, also noted that it has since commenced vigorous training of the servicemen in readiness for the imminent change of batons.
To this end, he said the company has so far singlehandedly trained 602 men of the service out of the 703 Customs men so far jointly trained by the three service providers. The other two service providers are Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) and Global Scan.
As part of the disengagement process, Mr. Rabiu said the joint service providers have also commenced plans to fund the training of more customs officers at an Australian University â€œwhere they will be issued with internationally recognized Diploma Certificatesâ€ in trade facilitation
According to him, â€œwe have a number of customs officers who have been with us since 2006 and they are well trained, and have demonstrated appreciable level of commitment to the hand overâ€¦ as well as commitment from the Federal Ministry of Finance. I can confidently say that Cotecna too is committed to the handover of our equipment and facilities which will in addition be maintained for six months free of charge-come the appointed timeâ€.
Cotecna currently handles Slot1 of the countryâ€™s import frontiers, namely: Apapa port, Tin-Can Island port, Abuja airport, kano International airport as well as the land borders of Jibiya in Katsina state and Banki, Bornu state.
Breakdown of the companyâ€™s operational facilities currently on ground within its territorial slot indicates that it maintains two mobile scanners and a fixed scanner at Apapa port, with plans to move one of the fixed scanners to Jibiya before June.
The company also maintains three mobile scanners at Tin Can Island port, as well as a fixed scanner which sources said would commence operation at the third quarter of 2010. Rabiu explained that plans were underway to similarly move one of the mobile scanners to Banki border station in Bornu state.
Other areas of operation currently covered with scanners are; Abuja and Kano airports which each hosts one Hi-Scan 145-180 tunnels said to be fully in operation.
Explaining that the BOOT project (Build-Own-Operate-and-Transfer) means that government is not committing any physical cash into the programme, Rabiu pointed out that the sponsorship of the entire project is entirely that of the service providers.
On problems currently militating against the system, the Cotecna boss pointed out that the dubious attitude of some importers had continued to constitute the greatest bottleneck with respect to delay in clearing process.
â€œA number of times, people make ridiculous claims and transactions which never took place. You go through a lot of process in checking out all of this, and since the system thrives a lot on documentation, it goes without saying that improper documentation actually slows down the process of clearingâ€ he said.
Noting that the whole idea was to facilitate trade since Nigeria has since adopted the Agreement on customs Value (ACV) in 2009, Mr. Rabiu pointed out that the purpose of ACV is to maximize governmentâ€™s revenue, but regretted that â€œwe cannot facilitate trade