BY HABEEB ADAMU
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has committed to generate $176 billion over the next 20 years following a modernisation project concession deal worth N1.3 trillion or $3.2 billion with Trade Modernization Project Limited (TMPL).
The contract, which is a public-private-partnership is expected to digitalise operations of the border safety and income assortment outfit of the service in line with International standard.
Speaking at the document signing ceremony held at the Abuja national headquarters of the NCS, Hameed Ali, the NCS controller-general (NCS), noted that the contract, when completed, would remove all arbitrariness and human errors in the service and consequently ease the cost of doing business.
Ali, who noted that the NCS currently generates between N210 billion to N225 billion a month, expressed optimism that the contract would generate multiple figures of money.
The NCS controller-general further dismissed allegations that the innovation would result in job cuts in the services, noting that it would even lead to the appointment of more officers.
“Vividly we have only 15,000 0fficers, and by the mission and vision of the management, we will need nothing less than 30,000 people to be able to effectively and efficiently carry out the mandate given to us,” he stated,
He also encouraged the members of the NCS to upgrade their skills in operating digital gadgets and developing their mental techniques to ensure better performance.
On his part, Saleh Ahmadu, chairman, Trade Modernization Project Limited,said the $3.2billion investments required for the project had already been finalised through an initiative led by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Ahmadu described the deal as a partnership suited in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) recommendation.
He added that the modernisation project, supported by Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of china-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Africa Finance Corporation, its technical partners, will help in the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and the development of the non-oil sector.
‘We wish to assure Nigerians that the revenue target of $176 billion for the federal government will be achieved, if not surpassed.
More importantly, we are excited about the real economic benefits for the country, in terms of business growth for exporters and import-dependent business improvement,” he added.
Jummal Umar-Ajijola, managing director, TMPL, in her remarks said the concession shows the importance of trade in national development.
According to her, the modernisation covers the entire operations of the customs service end-to-end, providing a value chain that creates an ecosystem that will facilitate trade not only in Nigeria but on the continent.