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By NBF News
Listen to article The federal government loses an average of $15 million (about N2.3 billion) monthly translating to N13.95 billion in the next six months in which the concession period for destination inspection (DI) service providers has been extended, the National President, Association of Nigerian Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA) and member, Technical Sub-committee of the Presidential Committee on Port Reforms, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, have said.

Speaking with our correspondent in Lagos yesterday, the ANLCA boss said the amount averagely represents one per cent of free on board (FOB) on the country's importations, which is paid to the DI service providers by the federal government.

He lamented that the money would have been saved if the Nigeria Customs Service was allowed to take over operation of the DI systems at the expiration of the concessionaires' terms last December, noting that the extension was 'very unnecessary' and politically motivated.

'What should have been done was to allow some days for transition, so that the system for which we have all prepared and which will save government $15 million every month, plus the fact that this is home-grown, could come to stay. The Nigeria Customs is fully prepared to carry out full destination inspection, but government went out of its way for political consideration and extended the contract for service providers. Nigerian government will do whatever it wants to do, but we hope that one day somebody somewhere someday will make a change,' Shittu said.

Describing the development as unfortunate and a 'clear indication of government's lack of seriousness in local capacity development,' Shittu noted that the federal government's action was based on political consideration as it could not have been for economic consideration.

'We are just wasting money. Again, considering that this is also being done for the security of the nation, would anyone think that a foreigner will do it better than the citizens?' He queried.

Three direct inspection DI service providers at the ports have had their contract terms extended by six months by the federal government, with claims by the ministry of finance to allow more time for effective mastering of the systems by the Nigeria Customs Service, despite the Service insistence that it was man enough and ready to take over from the DI concessionaires.

The three DI concessionaires, whose contracts were extended via a letter dated December 31, 2012, and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Danladi Kifasi, include SGS Ltd at Port Harcourt and Onne ports, Cotecna at Apapa Port and indigenously owned Global Scan Ltd at Tincan Port.