Why FG Should Not Acquire Scanners At Nigerian Seaports—Obiora Madu

By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Director General of African Centre for Supply Chain (ACSC) Dr. Obiora Madu has advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to shift its attention away from purchasing scanning machines for Nigerian ports, but rather embrace a more sophisticated technology known as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) at the port.
The RFID is a technology that uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects including containers, vehicles, cash, clothing, and possessions, or implanted in animals and people for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC)
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS in Lagos on Thursday, Dr. Madu said that most developed countries of the world no longer use scanners at the port, rather they use the RFID which would automatically collect all data on an imported consignment without causing delay.
He advised that scanning machines is old school, and that it leads to delays and cumbersome procedures, while RFID remains the only solution to the congestion at the nation’s seaports.
According to him “Nigeria is more than matured for this kind of technology, I was in Malaysia and we visited the company, and when we said we were from Nigeria, the man said that five years ago, Nigeria had put out a bid for that technology and that they applied but were not given. This means that the need for this new technology has been seen seven years ago, it is not something new”
“This technology is the reason why Walmart is the cheapest and biggest shop in the world, because the technology brings visibility.
If we have visibility at our ports, a lot of the problems would disappear”
“When a container has RFID tags, then you install the readers at the port, all you need is just for the containers to be passing, it is not like a scanning machine that is older and more cumbersome”

“RFID technology goes much farther and it cannot miss anything, if you get to those foreign ports, you would look around for the containers but they are all gone, there is no time wasting”
“So many countries including Malaysia and other developing countries are already using this RFID. The technology can resolve even the port congestion that we are battling with right now” he said
Meanwhile, in the short term, Dr. Madu advised the government that, if the management of the scanning machines by the Nigeria Customs Service is proving too difficult and adding to the inefficiency at the port, federal government should consider handing them over to terminal operators to manage the scanners.
He harped on the need for streamlining government agencies operating at the port, saying that too many agencies  create efficiency at the port.
“We just took over the scanning machines from destination inspection agents and gave it to the Nigeria Customs Service, but the problems is the scanning machines is not just because customs are not operating it”
“Before now, NPA was handling port operations before terminal operators came in and invested, we saw the results, my opinion is that if giving the scanning machines to terminal operators would make things better than what we have right now, then the government should go ahead and give it to the terminal operators to operate”
“What we are looking for at our ports is seamless operations, irrespective of who is operating the scanning machines, there is also, a need for collaboration, if agencies and fighting themselves, there is no way we can achieve result” he said

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