$3.1b e-Customs project delays as agreement signing drags
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has confirmed that the controversial e-customs project is still at the stage of final signing of agreement.
The Federal Government endorsed a concession agreement to reposition the operations of the NCS for over a year now, raising speculations that the projects might have hit the brick wall.
The e-Customs project had earlier generated controversy among stakeholders in the industry who were of the belief that the existing Customs automation platforms could be upgraded to fit the purpose, rather than wasting a whopping $3.1b on a new project, which will start from scratch.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, while rolling it the 2021 operational feats of the service said, “E-customs take-off process now at the stage of final signing of agreement”.
Ali, in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah, said these are expected to impact positively on trade facilitation, fight smuggling, block revenue leakages and significantly impact on revenue generation and national security.
Ali said the NSC generated the sum of N2.2 trillion in the year 2021, against of N1.5 trillion generated in 2020.
He described revenue feat as a result of resolute pursuit of what is right and willingness to adapt to changes brought about by global health challenges occasioned by COVID-19.
He further disclosed that the NCS efforts to prevent the entry of items that could compromise the Security of citizens, economy and the well-being of Nigerians resulted in the seizures of 5,096 assorted items with a duty paid value of N13.7 billion, while 160 suspects at different levels of investigation or prosecution.
He highlighted other landmark achievements in 2021 to include the installation of three brand new scanners in Apapa, Tin-Can Island and Onne Ports; Introduction of mobile tracker: a mobile application that enables individuals to remotely validate any declaration/payment and most importantly the status of any vehicle/cargo at any point. It can be installed in mobile devices.
Others are Introduction of Standard Operating Procedure for the use of scanners and acquisition of rugged, gun trucks to secure anti-smuggling operatives in an increasingly hostile environment.
Ali commended all officers and men for their doggedness and charges all to do more in the New Year.
While giving the assurances of the Service determination to continuously seek ways of making it easy for stakeholders to comply, the CGC prayed for the repose of the souls of operatives who paid the supreme price in the course of fighting smugglers. The living, he said must sustain the fight in honor of the departed.