Hameed Ali inaugurates $3.2bn e-customs project  

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) retired Col. Hameed Ali on Thursday inaugurated a 3.2billion dollar modernisation project to end manual administration.

Ali, while inaugurating the Project Management Office in Abuja, said the project, aimed at full automation of NCS was a dream come through.

According to him, 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.

“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 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 automise operations and unlock revenue to contribute to economic growth and wellbeing of Nigerians.

On challenges encountered in actualising the project, the comptroller-general said, although there were obstacles, 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.

According to him, modernisation 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 security of the people.

“We need to be at par with global practices, “he said.

Saleh Ahmadu, Chairman, TMPL, said the project would “invest 3.2 billion dollars over a 20 year period.

According to him, the investment will generate over 200 billion dollars in revenue generation.

“Financing for the first stage of the project is in the sum of 300 million dollars.

“This is with a cash backed 9million dollars performance fund, which has been secured through financial partners, “he said.

He said capacity building was one of the priorities of the project, adding that “substantial part of the project will go into building the capacity of staff.”

Clem Agba, former minister of state, budget and national planning, said the federal executive council on April 20, 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.

“The revenue sharing arrangement is 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 to the Nigerian responsible action scheme, and 75 per cent federal government,” the former minister said.