By IFEYINWA OBI
ABUJA—Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, is to take over destination inspection from the service providers after fine-tuning its new strategy.
NCS Comptroller-General, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the service had embarked on training and re-training of its officers in the area of scanning, Information Communications Technology, ICT and destination inspection preparatory to the take-over.
According to him, various time lines have been set for the various exercises before the end of the year.
It was gathered that the current service providers in destination inspection and Webb Fontaine for ICT are Cotecna, SGS and Global-scan.
Dikko said the set time lines would cover each of the major areas, including setting up of handover management teams.
He said: “The service is ready to take over the operation of destination inspection by the end of the year from the service providers. What Customs is doing now is to come up with a strategy that will ensure a smooth transfer of all these functions, which are considered core customs functions of the NCS by the end of 2012.’’
He said, three major sub-committees will be formed to manage the transfer of customs core operations in the area of ICT, scanning and destination inspection.
The customs chief said the major priorities of the service now would be the service providers’ contracts, operations of the single window and eventual takeover of the destination inspection programme.
Dikko said that December was just around the corner and “this means that we have less than nine months, so the next nine months is going to be crucial’’.
He disclosed that trainings on scanning were ongoing, while the scanners, which were not totally operated by customs, were working.
“So we are issuing Risk Assessment Report, RAR, alongside service providers but we are working toward a situation that by January 1, 2013 it is only our officers that will issue RAR.
“It is only Customs that will inspect and release goods; it is only Customs that will operate our risk management engine.”
Diko said that measures needed to be put in place to ensure effective delivery of service because the end of the contract time signed between the Federal Government and an appointed service provider was approaching.