Licensed customs officials in the country kicked the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) 3.1 billion naira electronic customs project, describing it as an avoidable duplication.
Chairman of the National Council of Directors General of Licensed Customs Officers (NCMDLCA), the umbrella body for customs officers in Nigeria, Lucky Amiwero said the N3.1b customs modernization project was not needed.
Speaking to reporters in Lagos, Amiwero said Nigeria’s customs service is currently using an electronic customs model powered by Webb Fontaine and approval of another is not required.
According to him, all it takes is an upgrade of the existing platform used by the NCS to meet the demands and expectations of the trade.
He added that customs processes in Nigeria have since migrated from manual to electronic and the expected e-customs or modernization project will be no different from what is on the ground.
“What we call E-Customs is what we have at Webb Fontaine. I was actually the person who wrote to the government before all of these things happened. In 2001 I wrote an article on something, which I don’t want to mention, that was the model that the federal government changed to put everything in place. So what customs does and what Webb Fontaine has is electronic customs. If the government is talking about another E-Customs project, then they don’t know what it means, ”he said.
He added, “These are just electronically transferred transactions. Isn’t that what Webb Fontaine is doing? The Central Bank does online banking and customs do electronic customs. There was a time when customs processes were manual and you had to haul things from shipping companies to terminal etc., but now all of those things are gone.
“So what you have on the ground is already E-Customs, and no need to duplicate it. Webb Fontaine should have handed everything to customs. At the moment we don’t have any scanners, they are all dead. But you still have a platform that is still working, so what they should have done is audit that platform. It was done I think in 2008 or 2009; and it was supposed to be re-audited before and transferred.
“These are the problems on the ground and these are the tools and instruments you need to make your ports efficient,” he said.