May 28, 2023

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E-Custom Encounters a Snag over a New Agreement

  • Concession partner pull out.

CEM REPORT | The Federal Government has revealed that the delay in the e-Customs project is due to disagreements between the concession partners.

This is according to the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who stated this while discussing with State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She said the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, had mediated on the issue and the disagreeing party had pull out of the agreement.

She added that the Federal Government wasn’t  a part of the concession.

“The E-customs project was approved by Council and there were some challenges that had to do with disagreements between the concession partners.

“Remember that government was not a partner of the concession, it was a group of different investing parties that came together and formed the consortium.

“The Attorney General and Minister of Justice has intervened. There were several number of meetings to try to iron out the difference. So, it has to do with shareholders, who has what responsibility. And at the end of the day, I think one of the partners in the concession did not agree with the arrangements.

“So, the partner that signed was already in the initial concession. So, one party did not agree with the terms that are signed. And there is a new agreement that had been signed and that partner was reported to have opted out of the concession.”

She also said although she had not seen the report, the e-customs project was clear to commence.

“I haven’t seen the report yet but it was reported to have opted out of being in the concession. So, there is a new concession agreement that has been committed. And on the part of the ministry and I know the Customs, what it means is that the implementation of E-Customs project can now start with this resolution.“

Recall that CEM had reported that the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), had signed a concession agreement for 20 years with Africa Finance Corporation, AFC, and China’s Huawei Technologies Limited, for the complete automation of the Service operations.

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, had in 2020 approved the e-customs project worth $3.2 billion in contract.

The NCS Comptroller-General, Col. Hameed Ali, retd, who signed the new contract, had explained that the NCS would generate a whopping revenue of $176 billion over the next 20 years through the implementation of the e-Customs project.

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