The Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, has told the Senate Joint Committee scrutinizing the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper that it does not have details of the Customs $3.2bn modernisation project.
The Comptroller General of the NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, stated this during an interface with the committee on revenue projections for 2024, 2025 and 2026 fiscal year.
The CG who was represented by the Deputy Comptroller General, Mba Musa, stated this when the chairman of the committee, Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East), made inquiries to that effect.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in April 2023 approved the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) modernisation project, also known as e-customs, despite a court order restraining the federal government from going on with the initiative.
The administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, specifically approved the implementation of the Customs modernisation project to a concessionaire.
The concessionaire is Bergman Securities Consultant and suppliers limited as the project sponsor, Africa Finance Corporation UFC as lead financier while Huawei Technologies will be trained as lead technical service provider.
However, stakeholders have knocked the project, saying it is to mortgage the future of the service and also inimical to national security.
Speaking on the modernisation project before the Senate joint panel, Mba told the lawmakers that the Nigeria Customs Service was not privy to details of modernisation agreement.
“We are not privy to details of modernisation agreement of the Nigeria Customs Modernisation Project,” Mba told the lawmakers.
He also declared that the NCS lost N1.3 trillion in 2023 due to waivers and concessions the President Buhari’s administration granted to investors.
He said NCS would have generated more revenue to the nation’s Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2023 if not because of the waivers and concessions arrangements.
Obviously not comfortable with the arrangement, Musa, the chairman of the Joint Committee said the Senate would commence investigation into granting of waivers and concesioning in the country.