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SON system failure: Port loses N84bn in two weeks

The failure of the server of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to link importers to the Customs server for the clearance of goods has reportedly cost the port industry N84bn in the past 14 days.

Importers have been trying for two weeks to upload their SON Conformity Assessment Programme code into the system to get their Pre-Arrival Assessment Report out without success.

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The loss to the port is estimated at N6bn daily.

SON had explained that it upgraded its system and importers were having challenge migrating to the new system.

However, an Information and Communication Technology expert, Mr Tunji Olaosun, said most of the applications government organisations used were not developed for Nigeria and the processes were also not domesticated.

Olaosun said from time to time, if systems break down and they could not get hold of the developer, the problem would defy solution.

He advised SON to reach whoever developed its application so the problem could be corrected.

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Olaosun said, “If it is sending error message back, it means there is a problem in the connection between the developer and SON.

“If the person is not in Nigeria, they either reach them or build the system from scratch.”

On the immediate and short term solution to the problem, Olaosun advised the agency to switch to manual so that it could clear the importers to get their PAAR.

“There is always a sail safe mode so that in an unlikely situation that the electronic system breaks down, you could switch to the alternative,” he said.

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Meanwhile, clearing agents have threatened to take SON to court if the situation is not resolved in 24 hours.

The Vice-President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Dr Kayode Farinto, who issued the threat, lamented that in the last two weeks, it had been very challenging for members of the organisation to get their PAAR and they had been paying huge demurrage for a problem that was not their fault.

He said it appeared the system analyst SON brought in did not carry Customs along or did not know much about the SON software.

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