The Nigeria Customs Service said its operations will become fully automated at the completion of a $3.2 billion e-customs project.
The service said deploying technology will help it to tackle corruption and promote transparency.
It, however, pointed out that the deployment of the technology will not reduce the Service’s manpower needs.
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said its operations are set to become fully automated as it inaugurated a $3.2 billion modernization project to end manual administration.
The Comptroller-General of the NCS, retired Col. Hameed Ali while inaugurating the project in Abuja, said the service embarked on the project, which is being handled by Trade Modernisation Project Limited (TMPL), to strengthen the processes of the service and eradicate corruption. According to him, the project which was started in 2015 will be delivering state-of-the-art technology for the Service.
Ali said the NCS decided on automation because of its numerous benefits, adding that digitisation drives efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness. He said the project would help NCS adapt to changing market dynamics while assisting to automize operations and unlock revenue to contribute to economic growth and the well-being of Nigerians.
On challenges encountered in actualizing the project, the comptroller-general said, although there were obstacles, they persevered.
“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 digitization,” he said.
On concerns that adopting the technology would reduce the use of manpower, Ali said such an assertion was unfounded. According to him, modernization will engender the service’s desire to recruit more personnel. He added that the project would require a lot of manpower to effectively cover the borders and ensure the security of the people.
The project’s financing
Speaking on the financing aspect of the project, the Chairman of TMPL, Mr. Saleh Ahmadu, said the $3.2 billion investment will generate over 200 billion dollars in revenue for the service.
“Financing for the first stage of the project is in the sum of 300 million dollars. This is with a cashback 9 million dollars performance fund, which has been secured through financial partners,” he said.
Ahmadu said capacity building was one of the priorities of the project, adding that a substantial part of the project will go into building the capacity of staff.
Speaking on the processes leading to the inauguration of the project, former minister of state, budget, and national planning, Mr. Clem Agba, said the federal executive council on April 20, 2023, approved the implementation of the e-customs project to a concessionaire.
The concessionaire is Bergman securities consultant and suppliers limited as the project sponsor, Africa Finance Corporation, UFC as the lead financier, and Huawei Technologies will be trained as the lead technical service provider. The concessionaire, he said has furnished the government with 9 million dollars (N4.135 billion) in security from the satisfactory performance of the project.
They have also executed the depth facility tensions of 300 million dollars (N138 billion) to finance the first phase of the project.
He said the revenue sharing arrangement is 45% of accruals to the comprehensive input service scheme going to the concessionaire and 55% going to the federal government, 5% of what accrues to the Nigerian responsible action scheme, and 75% to the federal government.
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