Explains delay in reopening of borders
By Emmanuel Elebeke – Abuja
The Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd) says he is confident that the entire Service will go full digital when it concludes the automation system being put in place latest in two years’ time.
The Comptroller General made the assertion on Monday on the Occasion of the 2020 International Customs Day at the NCS headquarters, Abuja.
When fully activated, he said that every Customs officer who cannot handle the computer will be out of the service.
It will be recalled that not too long ago, President Mohammadu Buhari approved the e-Customs Project for the service.
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The e-Customs Project is a Digital platform and is an all-encompassing automation system that has to do with administration, payment, border management, export and import processing designed to migrate the Service from paper to paperless system of operation.
Col. Ali said that once the platform is put in place, the latest in two years, every activity in Customs will be paperless and digital compliant.
‘‘It is our hope that once that platform is put in place, latest in two years, every activity in Customs will be paperless and digital.
‘‘That is why we have been notifying our officers that everybody must know how to manipulate Computer, otherwise in the next two years, anybody that cannot handle computer is out of custom.’’
On the revenue target for 2020, he said, ‘‘We are working on the target given to us by federal government based on lots of parameters. We are looking at economic development, prosperity before we decide how much we should be generating.’’
Also recall that the revenue generated by the NCS last year was N1.341trillion, about N404billion above the set target for the year.
He further listed other achievements of the Service in 2019 to include: the seizure of prohibited goods worth over N32.83billion; the interception of illicit cash flows through airports and the increasing gains of the ongoing border drill in collaboration with other security agencies.
On Border closure
When asked to comment on border closure, the Customs Boss explained that the Service was still talking with the neighboring countries with a view to ensure that all borders are secured, assuring that the government would relax certain things at the borders as soon as they get full cooperation of other stakeholders.
‘‘We are still talking with neighboring countries, a situation where our borders are secured. All the menace we are observing in our borders will no longer be there. We are working on them and as soon as they get them, we will relax certain things at the borders.
‘‘But for now, we are still conducting partial border closure. We are expecting that not long too long from now, the border will be open, when we get responsive adherence from our neighbors, we see how we can work together to fortify our borders. We are not only talking about Nigeria, but we are also asking them to ensure that their own borders are fortified from own illicit tracking if any,’’ said Ali.
The Nigerian Customs every January 26th joins its counterparts all over the world to celebrate their contribution to the overall well being of the society.
The day affords the Service the rare opportunity to reflect on its activities in the various years, recognize those exceptional contributions towards achieving its statutory responsibilities as well as consider its priorities in the current year.
The theme of this year’s celebration is: “Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity, and Planet”.
The World Customs Organization had earlier in 2018 identified custom’s role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to seven outstanding officers of the Service and five Command Units.
Others are the Nigerian Copy Right Commission; the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA); US Departments of Justice and Nigerian Breweries Ltd, among others.