An Overview of the e-Customs Project

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The strategic plan for the e-Customs Project began in 2016 when 94 companies responded to a bid request by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS.) Fifteen companies were pre-qualified and were all invited to make presentations on their solutions to enable Nigeria realise its vision of attaining complete automation of its customs operations and enthroning best practice methods as obtained in advanced countries.

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Bionica Technologies W.A. Limited was the preferred bidder after a rigourous evaluation process. Bionica presented its bid together with a consortium namely, Huawei, Smiths Detection, Nuctech of China, Larsen & Toubro Group, and Paramout Group, Huawei Technology. The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is both an equity investor and the Mandated Lead Arranger (MLA) which will facilitate loan syndication with foreign and local banks.

 

*Hamid Ali, CG of Customs

To finance and implement the e-Customs Project, a Project Company was set up to partner with NCS under a PPP arrangement, to develop and implement Customs modernization through establishment of a digital/paperless customs administration (the “e-Customs Project”).

 

The e-Customs Project shall encompass among other things the deployment of e-Customs Production Applications. These Production Applications include e-Clearance, e-Port System, Risk Control Centre (RCC), Logistics Management System (LMS), Electric Cargo Tracking System (ECTS), Intelligent Gate (i -Gate) and Mobile Enforcement (ME).

 

A key feature of the e-Customs Project includes an integrated and robust infrastructure for Customs Supervision which will ensure the stability and efficiency of Customs operations at its Headquarters and Branches. The infrastructure includes Cloud Data Centre, All Connected Customs Network, Video Surveillance System, among others.

 

Embedded in the e-Customs Project is the design and deployment of a digital/paperless NCS with the following advanced functionalities: Office Automation Application; Human Resources Management (HRM); Documents Management System (DMS); and Asset Management System (AMS). In addition, Advanced Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) equipment will be deployed in all NCS operational locations with complete technical support and maintenance.

 

A seamless co-ordination of all NCS operations will be enabled through the development and deployment of e-Enforcement Platform with Unified Communications, Intelligence Video Surveillance (IVS) to facilitate mobile Customs operation.

 

The Project will introduce a robust Enterprise Network covering NCS sites (Headquarters, Zonal Headquarters, Area Commands and Border Stations) inclusive of a Centralized Data Center with Disaster Recovery that will enable the Service Interchange Intelligent Data with other departments, partner Government Agencies in the trade chain, and other Stakeholder Agencies such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Federal Ministry of Finance and Federal Inland Revenue Sercice.

 

To ensure that there are no interruptions of the e-Customs Project, a critical part of the Project will include the deployment of Integrated Power Supply Solutions on all NCS sites. This will be enhanced through the development and deployment of Cyber Security Networks for all NCS Data Centers, as well as a Monitoring and Communications Systems, which will consist of Intelligent Video Surveillance and Unified Communications Systems.

 

Finally, the e-Customs Project will introduce advanced and faster X-ray scanners at the airports, seaports and land borders to assist NCS improve clearance efficiency in order to meet trade facilitation needs.

 

Benefits of e-Customs Project

The following benefits will result from successful execution and implementation of the e-Customs Project.

  1. The e-Customs Project will facilitate and hasten the urgently needed optimization of the NCS Systems which will enable trade facilitation and efficient revenue collection. This in turn would enhance Nigeria’s regional and global economic
  2. It will contribute to improving national security through the development of systems and networks aimed at prevention and suppression of smuggling activities.
  3. Furthermore, the e-Customs Project will improve Customs’ clearance efficiency to facilitate trade, support end user satisfaction and foster mutually beneficial relationships between consumers and the NCS, as required to improve the confidence of all stakeholders in the
  4. It will minimize government spending and allocation to the NCS for tasks already contemplated such as digitization of Customs processes, integration of ICT and intelligence facilities, among others. This in turn would minimize government borrowing and spending whilst diverting funds that could have been used to facilitate this project to address other pressing needs of the
  5. Above all, it will eradicate tax and duties’ evasion towards increasing revenue generation with the introduction and interplay of the Unified Customs Management System, e-Port, Logistic Monitoring, electronic-Cargo Tracking and Mobile Enforcement Systems, which all imports and exports would go

 

By partnering with the Bionica-led consortium, there will be a reduction of financial burden on the government to provide and maintain the e -Customs Platform, thereby freeing up resources which could be channeled to other areas of government activities and projects.

 

The e-Customs Project will in turn support and build the local economy of the host communities through direct or indirect participation of small and medium sized companies by affording them the opportunity to serve as Service Providers.

 

It will also improve the quality of Service Delivery of the NCS as a result of the effective Infrastructure that are in place and restore consumer confidence in NCS officials and processes.

 

Finally, we foresee a reduction in crime, includingfraud; reduction in unemployment rate;and invariablystimulatingeconomicgrowthanddevelopmentinthecountry.

 

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