The Eyewitness Reporter
The Nigeria Customs Service has sought the intervention of the National Assembly Senate Committee on Customs to address its core needs by providing modern tools for the complete automation of its operations to enhance trade facilitation and revenue generation.
Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi made this plea on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, at the Senate Wing, National Assembly, Abuja. He emphasized that this call underscores the Customs Service’s commitment to fostering economic growth, job creation, and dynamic trade relations.
Regarding the Senate Committee’s interest in doubling the NCS’s efforts in revenue generation, CGC Adeniyi emphasized, “not only introducing them but also standardizing them to enhance Customs’ clearance processes, revenue generation, which will be a better experience for both Customs administration and stakeholders.”
He recalled the initiation of the automation process by the Nigeria Customs Service in the late 1990s when it purchased modern gadgets, including computers and software, as part of the Service’s efforts to introduce computerization processes.
Discussing the concession issue, CGC Bashir Adeniyi highlighted some of the objectives of the Nigeria Customs Service’s requests to automate its operations. “The first major objective of the consortium was to provide an end-to-end ICT platform to digitalize procedures and processes.
The second one is to look at the present infrastructure and update it in line with international standards, ranking amongst the best in the world.” He noted.
He explained that the third objective was to provide technology-based solutions to address challenges faced by the Service, emphasizing, “The last part is the general organization of our infrastructure to provide the tools needed that will be associated with these objectives, deliverables, and part of deliverables first is to build a Unified Customs Management System.”
CGC Adeniyi further explained to the committee members, “The system needs to process the traditions of goods that will provide electronic party systems for the Service whereby its entire processes would be automated.”
He added, “The conditions of the non-intrusive inspection system include provisions, revisions of cargo tracking systems, intelligent gates, new infrastructure, like a data center to build the capacity of officers because it is essential in the last phase of the project.”
Speaking on the Service’s strategic approach to enhancing trade and ensuring smooth businesses for local traders, CGC Adeniyi urged the Senators to actively support local business people in exporting items, emphasizing that such a perspective shift could significantly contribute to boosting Nigeria’s economy and play a pivotal role in job creation.
Responding to the Chairman Committee’s call on the Service to double efforts in revenue generation, CGC Adeniyi highlighted some measures that should be adopted to achieve giant strides. He added, “If we properly monitor the impact of these kinds of instruments, they do not represent an absolute loss to the economy.”
He also mentioned that adopting these measures would create jobs for Nigerians, enhance tax payments, attract investors, and rejuvenate industrial sectors, which, according to him, would not be a loss for the economy.
In response, Senator Muhammad Sani, the Chairman of the Committee, commended Adeniyi for the strides made in revenue generation.
Expressing optimism, Senator Sani asserted that the Nigeria Customs Service, with its recent revenue records, appeared poised to multiply its financial contributions—an imperative for the country given its current economic needs.
He said, “By encouraging a more balanced approach, the aim is to empower local businesses through increased attention to export initiatives, aligning with a broader vision for a sustainable economic landscape.”
A similar interactive session with the Procurement Committee from the House of Representatives shed light on the financial commitments of the Nigeria Customs Service. However, discussions were postponed to another date.