Stakeholders in the maritime sector have kicked against the proposed electronic customs modernisation project as pure duplication of the duties of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The federal government recently approved the engagement of a consortium of four firms to enter into a 20-year concession arrangement with the NCS and the Infrastructure Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for a Customs modernisation project and establishment of digital and paperless customs administration.
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However, stakeholders in the maritime sector who spoke separately to our correspondent frowned at the concept, saying that the source of the project is doubtful and that it runs against government stance on corporate governance, integrity, and financial prudence.
National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Iju Tony
Nwabunike said the project was not known to the presidency.
He said that some interested foreigners along with their Nigerian collaborators may be behind the project in secret.
According to him, the entire project is enmeshed in secrecy suggesting that something was wrong with it.
Former National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Clearing Agents (ANLCA) and Chairman of Skelas Group, Prince Olayiwola Shittu said, “I don’t want to rule out the fact that modernisation can be useful, but if the experience from PAAR is going to be repeated.
“This is finding food for the boys. Why do we need to be paying for what we can do? But so far, what they want to do is still shrouded in secrecy, we have only heard rumour about what they want to modernise, why the secrecy and failure to carry stakeholders along during the conception?”
President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, described the project as an unnecessary duplication and waste of taxpayers’ money.
“It is wrong to start talking about giving the same job to four private companies. What new thing are they coming to do? I am talking as an expert”, he said.
It would be recalled that a former Comptroller of Customs, Lewis Ogunojemite, also condemned plans by the Federal Government to concession the revenue function of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to four private companies.