Customs eyes paperless operation, signs $3.2bn e-Customs contract

AMG Logistics
Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali. 

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ibrahim Ali, on Monday, disclosed that $176 billion revenue will be generated into the coffers of the Federal Government’s within 20 years through its e-Customs project.

He made the disclosure at the signing of the NCS modernisation project concession agreement in Abuja.

Ali also debunked rumours that the coming into operation of the project will lead to mass sack of officers as the NCS was in dire need of more hands to raise its number of officers from 15,000 to 30,000 for greater efficiency.

According to him, the $3.2 billion e-Customs project to be financed by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and managed by Huawei Technologies Limited under a 20-year concession window, will quadruple Customs’ current N210 billion monthly revenue collection.

He disclosed that the project ought to have commenced two years ago but could not due to unforeseen exigencies.

“The journey has been long and torturous. But we have eventually signed the dotted lines. I want to appreciate the ICRC for the commitment to see the project to fruition. I appreciate our partners, Huawei Technologies Limited.

They have been part of it. We had to go to China a couple of times. Today, we’re going to become a fully digitised service.

I thank the AFC for financing this project on behalf of the entire Nigerians.

“The success of this project will be on the global map. We are going to hit the ground running. It is a very beneficial project especially as it’ll garner $176 billion for the concession period. We are likely to surpass that. It’s a 20-year project by which time all aspects of it would have been deployed and Nigerians will decide whether to own it or allow it run as a concession.

“Soon, we will invite Mr President to flag off this project but before then, work starts in earnest. There are rumours that it’ll weed off officers, it’s not true. If anything, we have 15,000 officers but we need nothing less than 30,000 to efficiently carry our mandate.

“But we must be all be computer literate. It’ll be a total paperless operation. Our import, export, clearance processes will be completely digitised. We will enhance and sanitise the process. We will orient everyone to key into it. We are looking forward to triple our finances and the 7% commission for revenue collection is a big deal for us,” Ali said.

Also speaking at the event, the Acting Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Michael Ohiani, described the project as revolutionary, adding that it would bring digital smart processes and procedures to Customs operations.

“This is a migration from analogue to digital. We urge the concessionaire to stick to the rules of engagement as we will be monitoring the project every step of the way,” he said.

In his remarks, a representative of Huawei Technologies Limited, Kelvin Yang, assured that all deliverables were in place, adding that process of automation and paperless Customs will be fully achieved.


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