President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has highlighted the significance of data in modern decision-making, declaring it as the “light guiding the ever-evolving landscape of the nation’s economy.
The President who was represented by the Vice President Kashim Shettima at the official opening of 2023 Annual Comptroller General of Customs Conference in Lagos on Thursday, with the theme “Leveraging Data Analytics For Secure And Efficient Trade Facilitation In Customs Operations”, stated that the data-driven era, aligned with the Federal government vision for a transformed nation.
“Every part of the world is at the mercy of data, and every day we are reminded of the expanding volume of data upon which our decisions must be rooted. Data is a light guiding the ever-evolving landscape of our modern world, and we can’t function in the dark,”
Speaking further, he said data has been a technological application that has hindered not just Nigeria, but the entire continent’s growth trajectory, explaining that the inadequacy of data has impeded the ability to make informed decisions perpetuating a cycle of means, opportunities and some optimal outcomes.
He said, “for far too long we have been hindered by this quail of the fourth industrial revolution what we do is filling the gaps since we took charge to build on what our predecessors have done is what defines us, it is also this realization that stands as the invaluable goal of this century that prompted Mr President’s strategic placement of tax saving Nigerians in critical positions in these appointments to ensure not only strategic planning, but also the cultivation of Nigeria is a hope of refining minds in the global knowledge economy. Even before we were given this mandate, we knew that every facet of our lives is woven with data”.
Tinubu further said the government will not only commit to deploying data to make decisions within the government, but will also address the historical inadequacies of Nigerian policymaking, often impeded by a lack of comprehensive data.
He said the current governance landscape demands a transformative intervention, and the solution is on leveraging data analytics
“We will not only commit to deploying data to make decisions within the government, but to address the historical inadequacies of Nigerian policymaking, often impeded by a lack of comprehensive data.
“Our current governance landscape demands a transformative intervention, and the solution is what has brought us here together today. There is no doubt that the timing of this clock of modernity is inviting us to take action”.
He added that Data provides the sharpest lens in securing the nation’s borders. “Data provides the sharpest lens for us to connect the dots even in establishing the security of our borders, we can easily determine the future of our countries. We can easily determine the traffic of people and goods around a specific border, and share indisputable information with other nations with just a punch on our computers” he stated.
He assured that the government is determined to position Nigeria as the prepared destination for all stakeholders involved in export and import activities overseen by the Nigeria Customs Service.
“We aspire to position Nigeria as the prepared destination for all stakeholders involved in export and import activities overseen by the Nigerian Customs Service.
“While I am proud of the ambitions of the Nigeria Customs Service to accumulate vast crop of data and utilize data analytics to shape a public service system that upholds data integrity at its core, I also know that the first brick of this journey is investing in the training and capacity building of our Customs Officers to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, terabyte by terabyte, to build the infrastructure that will provide the best minds in the world”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Governor of Lagos State; Babajide Olusola Sanwo Olu expressed admiration for the Customs Service’s visionary approach.
He characterized the Customs Service as “dynamic” and its leaders as “result-oriented”, even as he lauded the ambitious plans to accumulate and utilize vast data through analytics, recognizing the potential for transformative change.
“I am truly, truly proud of what you are becoming and what you are planning to turn the Nigeria Customs into,” he said.
He underscored the pivotal role of Lagos State in the Customs Service’s operations, noting that 40% of commands and over 70% of monthly revenue were generated within Lagos. The Governor pledged unwavering support, envisioning Lagos as an even more significant hub for customs services.
Sanwo Olu linked the Customs Service’s goals to Nigeria’s broader economic diversification, emphasizing the need to move beyond reliance on oil.
He highlighted the state’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for Customs operations, promising infrastructure development for seamless services.
“Lagos is open to you. Lagos will continue to remain your host. The 70% what we currently do, we can all do more. When you do more, Lagos will do more. When you realize more, Lagos will realize more, and by extension, the whole country will do more. And the country will benefit from it,” declared Sanwo Olu, expressing eagerness to contribute significantly to the Customs Service’s success.
Sanwo Olu further emphasized the collaborative spirit between Lagos State and the Customs Service, promising a new era marked by shared goals, economic prosperity, and enhanced efficiency through data-driven strategies.
On his part, the Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi emphasized the significance of the conference by harping on its role in shaping government policies and aligning customs operations with President Tinubu’s agenda.
He painted a historical picture, tracing the roots of the Customs Service and underlining its commitment to adapting to technology and global best practices.
“This elevates the significance of this gathering, also emphasizing the seriousness of the discussion that awaits us,”
Adeniyi also highlighted the Customs Service’s commitment to data integrity and its ambition to position Nigeria as the preferred destination for stakeholders involved in export and import activities. He underscored the need for training and capacity building, acknowledging the crucial role of Customs Officers in building a robust data-centric infrastructure.
“As we revive this essential tradition, we will embark on a transformative journey characterized by impactful collaboration, unwavering commitment, and collective problem-solving. Together, we strive into a future where customs actively contribute to the progress and prosperity of our great nation,” Adeniyi said.
The opening ceremony was attended by top government functionaries, including members of the National Assembly, the royalty led by the Ooni Of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, as well as serving and retired management staff of the Nigeria Customs Service.