• Thursday, June 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

E-customs is not a concessionary project – Customs

Customs refutes alleged destruction of clearing agents’ property at Seme Border

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has clarified that the e-customs, aimed at launching the service into the digital world where all its operations will be automated, was not a concessionary project, but a Customs project.

Businessday recalled that in November 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sums of $3.1bn for the e-customs so as to enable the service align with international best practices.

However, the project, premised on a concessionary agreement of 20 years of Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model, has long been enmeshed in controversies.

The NCS Public Relations officer, Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah spoke to Businessday in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) that e-customs was a customs project in line with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) framework of standard to modernise its operations.

Read also: Lagos chamber seeks urgent reform of Customs cargo clearing processes

Attah pointed out that they had since secured the approval and had swung into action, adding that the automation of customs processes would substantially enhance national security, block leakages, raise revenue and increase its efficiency.

The Customs spokesman debunked fears that when the project finally come on stream, it would render some officers and men of the service jobless.

Attah highlighted that the consortium would not allow the scanners and other facilities needed for its smooth operations go to waste.

His words: “The consortium that are in charge of this won’t want their money to go to waste after such a huge investment. So how are they going to recoup their money? It is only when it is functional and generating the desired result that they will recoup back their money within the 20 years agreement period.

“There is no whatsover.

That is why we sort and got experts and for those who think it is a concession, it is not a concession; it is a customs project and in line with WCO framework of standard that encourages every custom administration to collaborate with expert, seek technology that will help them modernise their operations.

“We have gotten approval for the e-customs and we are swinging into action. Of course, you know the whole component of the e- customs revolves around full automation and processes which will include installation of scanners, e-port, logistics monitoring, cargo tracking, e-enforcement system etc. It is a complete automation of every aspect of customs operations instutitionalising the use of smart and emerging technologies in such a way that NCS administration operates within the confines of global best practices”.