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    Friday, June 2, 2023

    Customs Boss Unveils $3.2bn E-System to End Manual Operations

    The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, retired Col. Hameed Ali on Thursday has inaugurated a $3.2 billion modernisation project to end manual operations.

    During the inauguration of the Project Management Office in Abuja, Ali expressed his delight at the project, which aimed to fully automate the NCS. He explained that the project was established to improve the processes of the service and eliminate corruption. The project was handled by Trade Modernisation Project Limited.

    “Today we are witnessing the state of the art technology.

    “So, it is with pride that we reflect on the journey we embarked upon since 2015,” he said.

    Ali stated that the NCS chose automation because it has numerous benefits, including driving efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness. The project would enable the NCS to adapt to changing market dynamics, automate operations, and unlock revenue to contribute to the economic growth and wellbeing of Nigerians. Despite the challenges encountered in actualizing the project, the comptroller-general said that they persevered.

    He said “The inauguration is a celebration of NCS ‘ determination, resilience and foresight.

    “Every step that has been taken has been a testament to our commitment to embracing the power of digitisation.”

    On concerns that adopting the technology would reduce use of manpower, Ali said such assertion was unfounded.

    Ali mentioned that the modernization of the NCS would enable the service to recruit more personnel. He explained that the project would require a lot of manpower to cover the borders effectively and ensure the security of the people. He emphasised the need to be in line with global practices.

    Chairman, TMPL, Mr Saleh Ahmadu, stated the project would “invest $3.2 billion over a 20 year period.

    He mentioned that the investment would generate over $200 billion in revenue. He explained that the financing for the first stage of the project was $300 million, which was secured through financial partners. Additionally, there was a cash-backed $9 million performance fund.

    Ahmadu stated that capacity building was one of the priorities of the project, and a substantial part of the project would be invested in building the capacity of staff.

    According to NAN, the e-customs project was approved by the Federal Executive Council on April 20, and it was to be implemented by Bergman Securities Consultant and Suppliers Limited as the project sponsor.

    Africa Finance Corporation and UFC would serve as the lead financiers, while Huawei Technologies would be trained as the lead technical service provider.

    The concessionaire had provided the government with $9 million (N4.135 billion) in security for the satisfactory performance of the project. The concessionaire had also executed the depth facility tensions of $300 million (N138 billion) to finance the first phase of the project.

    The former minister explained that the revenue sharing arrangement was 45 per cent of accruals to the comprehensive input service scheme going to the concessionaire and 55 per cent going to the Federal Government.

    Five per cent of what accrues goes to the Nigerian Responsible Action Scheme and 75 per cent to the Federal Government. NAN

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