The House of Representatives is set to resolve the crisis between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) technical committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) and Adani Mega Systems Ltd following a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi) at plenary on Thursday.

The CBN had engaged Adani Mega Systems Ltd as a service provider/vendor for screening service infrastructure for the inspection of all inbound and outbound cargo in Nigeria.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila directed the committee to settle the matter within four weeks and return the report back to the house to enable the takeoff of the e-Customs projects. The house agreed that its Committees on Customs and Excise, Finance, Banking and Currency would invite the Governor of CBN, the committee on CISS, the Minister of Finance, the Controller General of Customs and the Managing Director of Adani Mega Systems Ltd.

What the legislator is saying

Rep Leke in his motion said the e-Customs will reduce the rate of loan requests that Nigeria is currently making. He expressed concerns on how the rift between CBN and Adani is coming at a time when there is a surge in arms and ammunition entering Nigeria.

Worried that the dispute between the two parties is at such a time of alarming entry of undetected arms and ammunition into the country’s ports and border stations as a result of non-functional scanners,” Mr Leke said.

The 2022 budget provided for N3.9 trillion for debt servicing alone, and this is aside repayment of the principal. If the E-Customs is allowed to take off by settling the issues between the CBN and ADANl, the issue of borrowing will be reduced to the barest minimum, if not eradicated,” he added.

Leke noted that CBN in its letter of engagement dated February 1, 2017, stated its statutory mandate to manage and supervise projects as provided in section 13(1), section 15(i) and section 5 of the Pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Act, and Pre-Shipment Inspection of Imports Act).

Aware that a Build, Operate, and Own (BOO) agreement between the committee on CISS, (on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria), and Adani Mega Systems Ltd in relation to the provision of the scanning services infrastructures (scanners) required for all operations was sealed and a certificate of “NO OBJECTION” was granted by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) after evaluating the profile of the company.

Concerned that 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.

But since July 13, 2017, the project had stalled without 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 the project as having the potential of yielding up to $176 billion over the course of the 20 year concession period.

The Nigerian Customs Service still remains in the analogue era of conducting 100 percent physical examination, which in itself is a major cause of congestion to our ports and greater loss of revenue to our dear country.

This is because the Nigeria Customs Service would be able to generate twice, if not thrice, of what is currently being generated. Despite all these obstacles, there is the possibility of the NCS to generate over N2 trillion this year 2021,” Leke said.

In case you missed it

Recall Nairametrics reported in January 2020 that the Nigerian Customs Service boss, Col. Hameed Ali announced the service would go digital once its automation system is concluded in 2022.

The e-Customs Project is a Digital platform with 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.