The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, Colonel Hameed Ali (retd), has told the Senate that the service does not have a single laboratory to conduct product sample testing.
Revealing this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs headed by Senator Francis Alimikhena (APC, Edo North), the comptroller general, who was represented by Acting Comptroller (Tariffs) Suleiman Chiroma, he said that before the absence of laboratory to effectively carry out its work, Customs, at different times, hired the services of the Nigerian Organization for Standardization, SON; the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and the University of Lagos.
Made the disclosure during an interactive session following the subpoena of the Chief of Customs by the Senate Committee for the excessive customs duties paid to the NCS by the Nigeria Bottling Company, NBC, Coca-Cola beverage producers, arbitrary increase of the Report pre-arrival assessment, PAAR, 200 percent Toyota transaction value.
Chiroma said: “The Nigerian Customs Service does not have a laboratory to verify items and do sample testing, therefore we go to other sister organizations for laboratory testing.”
Recall that Customs had told the Senate that their scanners were not working and instead of using scanners, Customs officials use the physical examination, which is more cumbersome and time-consuming.
It will also be recalled that the NCS inherited $ 120 million worth of scanner equipment in 2013 from Cotecna, SGS Scanning Nigeria Limited and Global Scan Systems Nigeria Limited, the former service providers.
Scanners prior to that time weren’t even in good working order, but continued to rot, even as the Senate found that all legacy scanners had broken down, making it mandatory for cargoes to be physically examined in ports. and border stations of the country.
The Senate also found that scanning machines were installed at various customs operational locations, such as Tin Can Island Port, Port Harcourt Area One Command, Onne Port, Kano, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the borders of Lagos, Seme and Idi-Oroke, Port Harcourt and Nnamdi. Azikiwe international airports, Banki border among others, but they are not functional.