Customs Reaffirms Competency, As DI Contracts Go Sour

LAGOS: Recently, the Destination Inspection (DI) service contracts at the seaports and borders awarded to three concessionaires by the federal government have been enmeshed in controversy.

This is happening as the contracts near their final expiration on June 30, 2013. The DI concessionaires are Cotecna, SGS Ltd and Globalscan Systems Ltd. While some have successfully repositioned for new businesses in anticipation of the contract expiration, one of the concessionaires, Globalscan Systems was said to have raised the dust about the inability of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to take over and effectively manage the scanning machines. But the customs dismissed the allegation as “desperate claims to retain a non performing contract.”

Customs Reaffirms Competency, As DI Contracts Go SourThe contracts initially expired on December 30, 2012, but the federal government had extended the contract for six months, making June 30, 2013 the new deadline.

According to statements credited to the Globalscan boss, Mr Fred Udechukwu, “Nigeria risks the outbreak of cancer” at the ports and borders if the cargo scanning machines are handed over to the NCS operatives. As the war rages on between the customs and Globalscan, the company’s managing director, Mr Udechukwu, has however denied the statements in advertorials published in some national dailies on Monday.

Meanwhile the NCS has issued a statement reaffirming its competency to handle the DI machines. According to experts, all over the world, cargo scanning services are handled by the customs. Here in Nigeria, experts had condemned government’s extension of the DI contracts last December, lamenting that the country lost billions of naira due to the contract extension.

Most Nigerians still find it very difficult and disheartening to correlate the amount of money thrown at some service providers in return for the poor infrastructure, operation, capacity building and transfer activity delivered so far.

In 2005, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) had conceived the DI programme as a viable approach to customs modernisation. Four companies were engaged on a Build- Own- Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis over a seven-year period to provide the required infrastructure.

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