Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The African Finance Corporation (AFC) Thursday revealed its plan to invest the sum $450 million for the complete automation of the operations of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) within 12 months.
One of the contractors engaged for the project and the Managing Director of Bionica Technologies W.A Limited, Alhaji Umar Kuta, disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives joint Committee on Finance, Customs and Public Petitions, co-chaired by James Faleke, Yusuf Kila and Jerry Alagbaoso respectively.
The joint committee is saddled with the responsibility of looking into the modernisation of the Nigerian Customs projects.
Kuta noted that the implementation of the proposed projects would ensure that all collectable revenues would be optimised and accounted for in line with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the federal government.
He explained that the consortium would partner the Customs by direct capital investment in collaboration with Original Equipment Manufacturers to develop and implement specific modernisation programmes, with full automation of all Customs business processes and procedures through the development and implementation of a robust and secure ICT platform.
Kuta stressed that this entails the complete systems integration with the current ICT platform.
He said the partnership would engender development and implementation of modern Customs border stations, airports and marine posts, adding that the marine posts would be utilised to develop the marine customs outfit.
Kuta stressed further that the proposed Public Private Partnership (PPP) guarantees that Customs modernisation programme would be professionally executed.
According to him, “The partners are mobilising about $ 450 million in investment to attain the complete turn-around programme. A complete automation of the activities of the NCS within 12 months will boost revenue and eliminate all forms of sharp practices in the system.”
He revealed that his company has five technical partners namely: Paramout Group, Huawei Technology, Smiths Detection, Larsen and Toubro Group, and Nuctech of China.
Earlier, the joint committee headed by Faleke had asked the NCS to provide details on the proposed e-Customs project and the cost implication to the government.