The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved $3.1 billion for the end-to-end automation of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed disclosed this at the end of the FEC virtual meeting in Abuja on Wednesday. Mrs Ahmed said the concessionary period is 20 years and the funding is exclusively from investors with the revenue expected from his automation nailed at $176bn. The move by the federal government is in pursuance of diversification of the economy, and it is targeting $176 billion revenue from $3.1 billion concessionary investment for full automation of the operations of the NCS.
Mrs Ahmed said whereas some services of the NCS are automated, the vast majority of them are still analogue and hence, the necessity to bring the entire operations of the agency to full modernisation and automation for best possible productivity.
"The main objective of this 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 functions of the Nigeria Customs Service into areas of revenue generation as well as trade facilitate and enhancement of security," the minister said.
"The total cost of the project is in the sum of $3.1 billion and the consortium, the PPP that has been approved is led by Messrs Huawei technologies with four other members.
"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 Nigeria Customs to pay its lead role in the national trading platform.
"The Bionica Technologies West Africa Limited, Bargain Securities and Supplies Nigeria Limited are lead sponsors and co-sponsors. We also have the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) as the lead financier and Huawei Technology as a technical service provider
"So, the 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 modernisation 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," she added.