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Reps summon Zainab Ahmed, Hameed Ali over delay on $3.1bn e-customs project

Reps summon Zainab Ahmed, Hameed Ali over delay on $3.1bn e-customs project
October 14
22:10 2021

The house of representatives has summoned Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of customs over delay in the commencement of the e-Customs project.

The lawmakers also summoned Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, chairman of technical committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) and managing director of Adani Mega Systems Ltd, a firm, to appear before it.

The house made this decision on Thursday following a motion of urgent public importance, moved by Leke Abejide, chairman, committee on customs.

Last year, the federal executive council (FEC) awarded a $3.1 billion contract for the automation of the operations of the NCS — despite court case instituted by Adani System Limited.

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Adani System Limited had instituted a suit, claiming that it signed an agreement with the CBN Technical Committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) for the modernisation of customs in 2017.

Abejide, in his motion, said the legal dispute between the federal government and Adani System Limited is stalling the implementation of the project.

He said the company had already procured materials and a certificate of “no objection” was issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) after evaluating the profile of the company.

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He also noted that if the issue is resolved, it would reduce the country’s debt.

“The level of engagement had reached the turning point whereby Adani Mega Systems Ltd had procured necessary equipment to commence the E-Customs projects as provided for in the contract,” he said.

“But since 13th July 2017, the project had stalled without a solution in sight, further causing tremendous revenue loss to the federal government which according to the ministry of finance, budget and national planning, had earlier appraised of having the potential of yielding up to $176 billion for the 20 year concession period.”

“The dispute between the two parties is at such a time of alarming rate at the entry of undetected Arms and Ammunition into the country’s Ports and Border Stations as a result of no functional scanners.

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“The 2022 Budget provided for N3.9 Trillion for debt servicing alone and this is asides from repayment of principal. If the E-Customs is allowed to take off by settling the issues between the FG and Adani the issue of borrowing will be reduced to the barest minimum, if not eradicated, because the Nigeria Customs Service would be able to generate twice, if not thrice, of what is currently being generated. Despite all these obstacles, NCS can generate over N2 trillion this year 2021.

“For the interest of the country and to reduce country’s debt profile the lingering crisis between the federal government through the CBN Technical Committee on CISS and Adani Mega Systems Ltd need to be urgently resolved.”

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