After months of uncertainties, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and a private consortium called Trade Modernisation Project Limited, on Monday, signed a concession agreement of $3.2bn to digitalise and mordernise the operations of the Service.
This is just as the Federal Government is expected to generate over $176bn from the deal over the next 20 years through the implementation of e-customs project.
The NCS Comptroller-General, retired Col. Hameed Ali, disclosed at the signing of e-Customs concession agreement between the service, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and China’s Huawei Technologies Limited, in Abuja during
Ali said that the e-Customs concession project would ease the cost of doing business, boost revenue, enhance productivity and stop every arbitrariness in the service.
He said, “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, when fully implemented, would quadruple Customs’ current N210 billion monthly revenue collection.
“We will be making $176 billion within the next 20 years.
“I appreciate our partners, Huawei Technologies Limited. We had to go to China a couple of times and today we are going to become fully digitised.
“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.
The concession agreement under a Public Private Partnership framework was midwifed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)
“The journey has been long and torturous, but we’ve eventually signed the dotted lines. I want to appreciate the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for the commitment to see the project to fruition.”
The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Mr Michael Ohiani, described the project as revolutionary, adding that it would bring digital smart proceses 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.
Also, Mr Kelvin Yang, representing Huawei Technologies Limited, said the company would make sure that the aim of the concession agreement was achieved, promising to make it a world standard project.
Alhaji Saleh Ahmadu, Chairman, Trade Modernisation Project Limited (TMPL) said that the 3.2 billion dollars investment project through multi-stakeholders collaboration aims to ease exports and simplify imports, thereby, increasing foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“As the concession period begins, we wish to assure Nigerians that the revenue target of 176 billion dollars for the Federal Government will be achieved, if not surpassed.
“More importantly, we are excited about the real economic benefits for the country, in terms of business growth for exporters and import-dependent businesses.
“Others are improved global supply chains, enhanced industrial capacity utilisation and creation of employment opportunities,’’ Ahmadu said.
While explaining that the project was driven by technology, Ahmadu said that there would be more efficiency in the business processes of Nigeria Customs Service.
Similarly, Dr Jummal Umar-Ajijola, the Managing-Director, TMPL, said that the concession agreement for the Service Modernisation Project signaled the importance the Federal Government attached to the role of trade in national development.
“Today, Nigeria takes a giant leap to strengthen its readiness for global trade in the 22nd century.
“The rapidly changing human development needs and challenges of globalisation require agile national response.
“This modernisation covers the entire operations of the customs service end-to-end, providing a value chain that creates an ecosystem that will facilitate trade not only in Nigeria but on the continent.
“For us at Trade Modernisation, we see that that 22nd century just dawned in Nigeria and the world has to follow us with this leap we have taken.
“We are going to bring an initial investment of 3.2 billion dollars into this project.
“The world custom organisation is excited about what this means because if you have the Nigerian market you have the African market and if you have the African market you have the global market.
“Africa is over 1.5 billion strength and that kind of number is what we are looking at trapping in terms of trade.
“It simply means that both the import and export processes would be made seamless, there would be accountability, leakages would be blocked and that means more revenue to government,’’ she said.
Umar-Ajijola further said that the project would create more job opportunities, particularly for the youth.
“There would be a lot of opportunities and a lot of new professions would be created, young people would have jobs since they are the people who drive technology.
“This ecosystem would ensure job generation for the country which of course will lead to sustainable development,’’ she said.
Kindly like us on Facebook