- CONCESSION AGREEMENT WITH CHINESE FIRM NECESSITATED BY CLUELESSNESS — ANCB
**Casts blames on Minister of Finance and CG of Customs
By Mcanthony Onuoha
Criticisms have trailed the The $3.2 billion e-Customs project said to be financed by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and to be managed by Huawei Technologies Limited for the next 20 years when fully implemented.
Association of Nigeria Customs Brokers (ANCB), through its National President, Dr.Basil Nwolisa, blamed the concession on what he termed “sheer cluelessness” on the part of the Finance Minister and the Comptroller General of Customs.
According to ANCB, “the concession agreement in any guise is an attestation to the cluelessness of the Minister of Finance and the retired Soldier Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, it is not out of place to question why the concession agreement was reached in such a hasty manner, hurriedly executed because of accrueable personal benefits. A check on the directors of the Chinese firm and shareholders will in doubt expose a selfish collaborative partnership.” Nwolisa alleged.
Highlighting the importance of the deal, the Comptroller General of Customs, Col.Hameed Ali(rtd.), said, “the implementation of the project will generate a revenue of $176 billion over the next 20 years.”
Ali, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the e-Customs concession project would ease the cost of doing business, boost revenue, enhance productivity and put a stop to every arbitrariness in the service.”
“He added that, ” the $3.2 billion e-Customs project to be financed by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and managed by Huawei Technologies Limited under a 20-year concession window, when fully implemented, will quadruple Customs’ current N210 billion average monthly revenue collection. While appreciating Huawei Technologies Limited for their partnership, he noted that the NCS is becoming fully digitized”.
However, the group and some critical stakeholders are strongly on the opposite side of the agreement, according to one of the Stakeholders, ” the concession was hastily carried out as if it is one – man enterprise, Nigerians have the right to know why, how and when the bid was advertised and what criteria was used to arrive at the choice of a Chinese firm, l think Nigerians deserve better explanation why such hasty decision was taken.”
” If l may state the obvious, the present scenario played out due to the absence of a seasoned Career Customs Officer, no matter the pressure or level of intelligence he would not have succumbed to the concessionning of any function or department of Customs”.
Dr. Basil Nwolisa corroborated the opinion of another critical stakeholder that, “once again, the Customs high Command in collaboration with the Finance Ministry have disappointed Nigerians by this decision. Their wealth of experience and vintage position did not afford them access to global information, they ought to verify the list of Countries that concessioned it’s Customs administration in the present dispensation globally. Other than concession some countries preferably out sourced some aspects of operations in which they lacked financial and technical capacity to cope with. The CGC and the Minister of Finance suddenly gave in for personal benefits and concessioned a major department of Nigeria Customs Service, to say the least, such action can be likened to an open admittance of administrative failure.” The group stated.