The Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has ratified the Nigeria Customs Service modernization scheme at the cost of $3.1 billion.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed presented the memo approving the e-custom project for the complete automation of the NCS processes and procedures using the application of information and technology technology in all aspects of Customs administration.
Rising from the meeting, Zainab explained that the project was awarded in favour of Messrs E. Customs HC Projects Nigeria Limited for a concessionary period of twenty years. It is projected that government will earn about $176 billion during the period.
“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 enhance the statutory function of the Nigerian Customs Service in the areas of revenue generation, trade facilitation and enhancement of security,” the minister further explained.
She said the project was approved as a Public-Private-Partnership model and that the Federal Government would not invest any funds in the scheme. It is solely financed by a consortium led by Messrs Y Technologies with four other members.
Ahmed noted: “The committee that led this process also looked at the National Trade Impact process that has been going on for years and confirmed that the Nigerian e-customs project is a subset of the National Trade Impact and would prefer the Nigerian Customs to play it’s lead role in the national trading platform.
“Bionica Technologies West Africa Limited, Bargain Securities and Supplies Nigeria Limited are lead sponsor and co-sponsor. We also have The Africa Finance Corporation as the lead financier and Huawei Technology as a technical service provider.
“So, council today ratified Mr. President’s approval for the PPP concession for a 20-year period to Messrs E. Customs HC Project Limited as a concessionaire for the delivery of customs modernization project.
“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” the Minister clarified.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed also emphasized that the Federal Government will not pay anything for the project.