Finance Ministry approves transition of destination inspection service from scanning providers to Nigeria Customs Service

NigerianCustoms-BadgeThis is a landmark and very brave decision by the Nigerian Government. All countries operating Build Operate Transfer (BOT) X-ray cargo scanning services should watch this development with interest.

Following the expiration of the Destination Inspection Contract Agreements between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Scanning Service Providers (SSPs), the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has directed the transition of Destination Inspection Service from contracted SSPs to the Nigeria Customs Service.

Accordingly, effective from 1st December 2013, Nigeria Customs Service has taken over full processing of all import transactions to Nigeria in accordance with the amended Import Guidelines of the Destination Inspection Scheme. Pursuant to this, all Scanning Service Providers (Cotecna, SGS and Global Scan) shall cease to approve new Form M, issue Risk Assessment Report (RAR) or perform Scanning operations for goods imported into Nigeria.

In international trade several destination countries require Pre-shipment inspection. Pre-shipment inspection, also called preshipment inspection or PSI, is a part of supply chain management and an important and reliable quality control method for checking goods’ quality while clients buy from the suppliers.

After ordering a number of articles, the buyer lets a third party control the ordered goods before they are dispatched to him. Normally an independent inspection company is assigned with the task of the PSI, as it is in the interest of the buyer that somebody not connected with the deal in any way verifies the amount and quality. This way the buyer makes sure, he gets the goods he paid for. Wikipedia

The SSPs shall handover all valid Form Ms and existing Valuation Database to the Nigeria Customs Service. However, the contract for provision of ICT infrastructural back up for the scheme currently being executed by Webb Fontaine is extended for a period of 18 months to ensure a smooth takeover by NCS.

As we enter this era, the Federal Ministry of Finance urges stakeholders and all Nigerians to give the Comptroller General of Customs and his team all the support necessary to manage a smooth and successful takeover. While no effort was spared in the build up to this process, we should all bear it in mind that transitions of this magnitude may throw up some implementation challenges. It will require the understanding of all Stakeholders to manage whatever initial challenges that may arise before the process fully stabilizes.

As part of the take-over plans, Help Desks and Dedicated Hotlines have been provided to enable Stakeholders and the general public channel complaints, observations and suggestions on the process to the Nigeria Customs Service. Help Desks are provided at Customs Headquarters, Abuja and other Commands across the Country. Such feedback can also be channeled directly through the following dedicated numbers: 09 4621597, 09 4621598 and 09 4621599.

The Ministry will like to convey the appreciation of Mr. President and all Nigerians to the Scanning Service Providers for services rendered to the Nation since the beginning of the Destination Inspection scheme in 2006.



Cargo Inspection – SGS ready to hand over to Customs

NigerianCustoms-BadgeAt the wake of call by some stakeholders for extension of concession period for direct inspection (DI) service providers at the nation’s ports, one of them, Societe Generale de Surveillance SA (SGS) Scanning Nigeria Limited, has reiterated its readiness to handover its cargo scanners and related services under the DI scheme to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) by the end of this month in line with the concession contract it entered into with the federal government through the ministry of finance. SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited,having fulfilled its contractual obligations under the DI scheme, is looking forward to a smooth takeover of its DI activities by NCS officers from January 2013.

In 2005, SGS, along with two other service providers was awarded a seven-year contract that commenced in January 2006, to supply cargo scanning machines on a build, operate and transfer basis (BOT) as well as training services and technical support on risk management, valuation and classification.

SGS has delivered on the deployment of cargo scanners and also trained more NCS officers than was stipulated in its contract. In addition, the company, in August this year, concluded the special training of 80 Customs officers tagged ‘DI Transition Team’ at the NCS Ikeja Training School, as part of her winding down activities. Additionally, SGS carried out renovation of some of the NCS training school facilities and provided computers and other equipment.

Furthermore, SGS believes all the NCS officers sent to us for training have been well prepared to take over the DI activities as from January 2013. (Comment: One would hope that the article appended below – Nigerian Customs officials cannot operate scanners – is dated or otherwise inaccurate. It would be grossly unwise for any arm of government to undertake this responsibility unprepared.) The seven-year DI Scheme can be regarded as a transition phase from the former Pre-shipment Inspection Scheme(PIS) to the next phase of NCS development. Therefore, the conclusion of our DI contract on December 31 will be a milestone for NCS.

Having been in Nigeria for more than 50 years, SGS will continue to support the economic transformation efforts of government should the opportunity arise. The company has been in Nigeria since 1957. Source: Leadership (Abuja)

Nigerian Customs Boss unveils new scanners

The Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Inde Dikko Abdullahi, said that ports users would henceforth complete their business transactions within 24 hours. Speaking at the formal unveiling of the gantry scanner procured by Societe Generele Surveillance (SGS) Nigeria at Onne, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, he said the new scanning facilities would boost the 48-hour target for clearance of goods at the ports, noting that it would complement government’s efforts toward reducing the cost of doing business at the ports.

Special training for a select team of 80 NCS officers has been concluded. The team is expected to take over services and operations in the Destination Inspection scheme as from January 1, 2013. The training covered all aspects of the DI activities being handled by SGS for NCS with emphasis on actual risk analysis and processing of the importer’s final document resulting in classification and valuation opinion.

Managing Director of SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited, Mr. Nigel Balchin, in his address at the occasion, said the mobile cargo scanners were capable of scanning about 34 trucks per hour as against 16 per hour by the fixed cargo scanners. Each had double tunnel that enabled it scan two trucks at the same time with equal image quality as the fixed scanner. “At SGS we are committed to quality service delivery. We are very glad to be part of this success story and we look forward to Nigeria Customs Service taking charge of the DI programme. The knowledge you have acquired is for the benefit of Nigeria Customs Service and ultimately that of the Nigerian economy. We wish you the best in your future endeavours”, he said.

The image quality of the relocatable gantry scanners is on par with a fixed scanner. Trucks remain stationary during scanning (the scanner moves on rails) unlike a fixed scanner where the truck is pulled through the scanner on a conveyor that’s more vulnerable to maintenance issues. The scanner is mounted above ground unlike a fixed scanner where one of the detectors is four metres underground. In addition, a relocatable gantry scanner can be re-deployed to an alternative site, in a relatively short time, in case of any expansion or new development.

SGS is one of the service providers contracted by the Federal Government to assist the NCS facilitate trade through risk management and use of non-intrusive inspection (x-ray cargo scanning) of imports routed through the nation’s air and sea ports as well as approved borders. The company is currently providing cargo scanning services in Bahrain, Cameroon, Haiti, Madagascar, Uruguay and has completed provision of scanning services in Gambia, Kosovo and Mexico.  Source: