The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday okayed the additional automation of the operations of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at a cost of $3.1billion.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at the end of the 14th virtual FEC meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ahmed said that the funds would however, be sourced solely by the concessionaires who will be in charge of the project for 20 years.
The Minister who said government was targeting $176 billion revenue generation from the project, explained that the project would enable the complete automation of the NCS processes and procedures.
Ahmed said that the project was awarded in favour of E. Customs HC Projects Nigeria Limited, for concessionary period of 20 years.
According to her: “The main objective of the project is to completely automate every aspect of the customs business and to institutionalize the use of smart and emerging technologies that will enhanced the statutory function of the Nigerian Customs Service in the areas of revenue generation as well as trade facilitation and enhancement of security.
“This is a project that will not have an immediate cost to the government, the investors are providing all of the financing and this revenue will be deployed in three phases and they will look over the investment in the concessionary period of 20 years.
“The key point is that it is not costing the federal government one thing, the $3.1 billion being proposed will be sourced by the sponsors and the partners”, she stated.
Ahmed further explained that “this investment of $3.1 billion is broken down into capital investment of $1.2 billion which will be done in three phases over 36 months by these investors and $1.1 billion is our projection of the operational cost over the 20-year period of the implementation of this project.
“This project has the potential to yield up to $176 billion of revenue for the project and the consortia that are providing this investment are going to be paid over time according to the schedule that is negotiated for their investments including their profits and cost.
“So, this is the best possible way for Nigeria to roll out important capital project using funds from the private sector and providing service for the use of Nigerian people and the government.”
The strategic plan for the e-Customs Project began in 2016 and when implemented, it will encompass among other things, the deployment of e-Customs Production Applications including Production Applications include e-Clearance, e-Port System, Risk Control Centre (RCC), Logistics Management System (LMS), Electric Cargo Tracking System (ECTS), Intelligent Gate (i -Gate) and Mobile Enforcement (ME).
The e-project is expected to ensure a seamless co-ordination of all NCS operations through the development and deployment of e-Enforcement Platform with Unified Communications, Intelligence Video Surveillance (IVS) to facilitate mobile Customs operation. the benefits of the e-Customs Project to include; to
facilitate and hasten the urgently needed optimization of the NCS Systems which will enable trade facilitation and efficient revenue collection and this will in turn enhance Nigeria’s regional and global economic competence.