At the just concluded Ease of Doing Business Forum in Lagos, which was attended by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade, and Investment, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and senior representatives from ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), the Deputy Comptroller of the Nigerian Customs Service, Mr Anthony Ayalogu, spoke with Nairametrics about the technology upgrade which the agency had embraced in order to make the process of imports for the private sector easier.
Ayalogu stated that the service began its IT upgrade last year, moving from ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) to NCIS 2 (Nigeria Customs Integrated System), which is internet-based.
ASYCUDA was an intranet-based system whereby you could only communicate with the Customs systems when you are within the customs region. Communication was also limited to banks and some other agencies like SON (Standards Organization of Nigeria) and NAFDAC (National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control).
NCIS 2 is now an internet-based platform that will allow anybody in any place in the world that has an internet connection to connect to customers after going through certain processes with us.
Impact on e-commerce
The new system has had a positive impact on e-commerce as people can now bring consignments to Nigeria from marketplaces outside the country. This they are able to do after completing the processes online.
According to him
“Many e-commerce markets are now connected to the Nigerian Customs service and are able to carry out these processes online. Before now, they could not do them. Business people in the private sector outside the country who need to import goods into Nigeria do not need to complete all these processes in Nigeria. They can complete them before the arrival of the goods. This will enable the goods to move faster from the Ports.”
Short term goals
The Deputy Controller also stated the service was looking at lowering the turn around time even further by the end of the year.
“It is evolving to the point where you can also complete all the processes and even release the goods from the Port. With certain goods, you don’t need to do an examination. You just need a good VIN. With that, you can pay your duty and deliver your goods without intervention from Customs. This is where we are gearing to, and we intend to do so by the end of this year.”