11 January 2014, Lagos – Efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service to meet its annual revenue target and ensure efficient port operations are being threatened by frequent breakdown of its information technology system.
Investigations revealed that the frequent system breakdown has reduced cargo clearance at the ports.
The Customs inter- connectivity of the system starts from the Abuja office of the Nigerian Customs Service, from where it is connected to the Zonal Headquarters in Harvey Road in Yaba and then to the router in Lilipond in Apapa, and from there to other Commands in the Lagos ports.
Investigations however reveal that the router in Lilipond has been constantly under repair in the last two weeks.
Investigations reveal that whenever the systems breakdown, port operations are delayed for hours before it is restored.The frequent breakdown of the of the system has also affected the Bonded terminal operators connection to the Customs server in Abuja.
As a result they have been unable to process the release of cargoes as at when due.
It was however not clear as at the time of filling this report if the technology provided by Web Fontaine is system experiencing the fluctuation.
Besides slowing down Customs operations, there has been a reduction of the number of containers cleared from the ports since the Customs took over scanning operations.
For example in November 2013, shortly before Customs took over, over 26,000 containers were cleared from A P Moller terminals as against 16,000 in December after Customs took over.
Commenting on this development, President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, (NCMDLCA) Mr. Lucky Amiwero said that unstable system has impacted negatively on cargo clearance.
Amiwero explained if the system fluctuated for thirty minutes to one hour, it is understandable but for 3-6 days then it is total system collapse.
He also said that it is better to know where the problem is coming from adding that it is after that is done that a solution can be applied.
“Web Fontaine has been powering the Custom system for about six years and should have tested the integrity of the system they have been using all this while.“Even the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) is foreign to us in Nigeria. This PARR project should have been experimented with before implementing in Nigeria” he added.