Customs modernisation to generate $176b, says ICRC

The Nigerian Customs Modernisation Project, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is expected to generate over $176 billion to the Federal Government in 20 years, the Acting Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Michael Ohiani, has said.

The PPP is a concession between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Trade Modernisation Project Limited, with Huawei Technologies serving as the Technical Partner and Africa Finance Corporation doubling as the lead financiers.

Ohiani said the PPP is a Presidential initiative on Customs modernisation that would attract an investment of over $3.2 billion.

Ohiani, who spoke yesterday at the concession signing ceremony, urged the “Concessionaire to ensure the full implementation of the terms of the agreement credibly and in line with global best practices”.

The Comptroller-General of NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.), allayed fears that the implementation of a modernised and computerised service, would lead to job losses, saying that the Customs would require an additional 15,000 staff for optimal operation.

“There are rumours that this project is going to weed off officers. Let me allay those fears. We are even in need of officers. We have only about 15,000 and by the mission of management, we need no fewer than 30,000 to effectively carry out the mandate,” he said.

Ali said the project is going to quadruple the monthly revenue of the Service. He added: “As of today, we are making a collection of over N225 billion per month. It is our hope that by the time we put trade modernisation in place, we would triple this figure, if not quadruple.”

He expressed optimism that the NCS would soon invite President Muhammadu Buhari to kick off the project, calling for support from stakeholders, including staff of the Service, project partners and the reporters.

The representative of Huawei Technologies, Kevin Yang, expressed the firm’s commitment to the project, saying: ” We will make sure that all the deliverables to the facility and process automation and paperless customs is achieved. We will make sure this is a world standard project.”

The representative of AFC’s Chief Executive, Sumaila Zuberu, reiterated the commitment of the AFC to the project, pointing out that its success will be a reference point for the Custom Service in other African countries.

She expressed hope that the project will be quickly implemented, adding that the AFC was still very committed to providing the relevant finance required for the project.

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