By G9ija

Acting Assistant Comptroller-General (ACG) of Customs, Information Communication Technology  (ICT)/Modernisation, Aliyu Galadima Saidu has described the recently approved E-Customs project as one that will make Nigeria rank among countries with best Customs administration.

Saidu, who said the project would enhance International trade and support government drive revenue collection, added that it has been attracting accolades to the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) from other countries and international organisations.

Speaking at a Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) event in Abuja, Saidu said the project would also strengthen the service capacity for information sharing with other agencies of government and private operators.

He added that contrary to the thinking by some persons that the project is a concession to take over customs function, he said officers of the NCS would be involved in the running of the project as it would boost their capacity and increase their productivity.

Saidu said: “E-Customs is an integration of Customs application processes, platform, hardware involving all-in-one nationwide import, export, excise and office management under one digital platform.

“In addition to this, it is a solution to facilitate processes of licensing clearance, cargo management, revenue collection and payment.

“The automation of Customs procedures has been a key component in Customs reform and modernisation globally. It is not only peculiar to developing nations and this initiatives and support across the globe has been facilitated and emphasised by international donor organisations like World Trade Organisation, World Customs Organisation and other organisations globally.

“The impacts are enormous. Number one, it is going to facilitate international trade. It is going to block all the loopholes leakages in revenue generation and the end result is going to enhance our revenue collection. It is going to enhance border security.

“We are going to have a robust platform of sharing information. It is going to enhance the capacity of Customs officers and men and the clearance procedure is going to be shorten. This will provide us with best technology to support the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

“It will also strengthen trade facilitation has being advocated by the World Customs Organisation. It is going to enhance professionalism and specialisation in Nigeria Customs Service.

“In the process, our entire border stations, seaports and airports are going to be fitted with scanners. I mean the model hi-tech scanners which will facilitate clearance of goods and passengers and the end result also will be less human contacts and easy detection of concealing methods by smugglers.

“This project is not a concession. Let me break it down- we are inviting experts, people are bringing their money to enhance our capacity to give us this technology.

“The whole process will be driven by Customs. A typical example is that each scanning site will enhance our capacity then the image analyses will be done by Customs.  I don’t see any concession here. All our platforms will be run by Customs and that is why one of the key component of this project is enhancement of our capacity. They are going to give us a robust training.

“We have been clamouring for this for long we want to be among the top class Customs administration in the world and since the Federal Executive Council approved this project, our CGC has been receiving calls from member nations of Customs under World Customs Organisation congratulating him because is a Customs project initiated by Customs and is going to be driven by Customs,” Saidu said

The Acting ACG added that it will enhance Customs’ e-payment system, Unified Customs Management System, Risk Control Centre, Electric Cargo Tracking System, Centralised Risk Management, Office Automation System Network and Cyber Security, among others.