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E-Customs Contract: Nigeria May Lose $176bn To CBN, Adani Systems Ltd Dispute

 

There is a  lingering crisis between the  Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Adani Mega Systems Ltd, a service provider/vendor engaged for screening service infrastructure for the inspection of all inbound and outbound cargo in Nigeria which if not resolved may cost the country up to $176 billion over the course of the 20 year concession period.

The House of Representatives has in the meantime  mandated three of its committees to resolve the crisis sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Leke Abejide (ADC-Kogi) at plenary, on Thursday.

Moving the motion, Abejide said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) technical committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) had an agreement with Adani Mega Systems Ltd having engaged the firm as a service provider/vendor for screening service infrastructure for the inspection of all inbound and outbound cargo in Nigeria.

The rep said that the CBN, in the said letter of engagement, dated February 1, 2017, also stated its statutory mandate to manage and supervise the project (as provided in Sections 13(1),15(i), and 5 of 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.

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“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 per cent physical examination, which in itself is a major cause of congestion to our ports and greater loss of revenue to our dear country.

“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.

“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.

“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,” he said.

Leke said that in the interest of the country and to reduce Nigeria’s  debt profile, the lingering crisis between the CBN’s committee and Adani Mega Systems Ltd needed to be urgently resolved.

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The house resolved that its Committee’s on Customs and Excise, Finance, Banking and Currency, should 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.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the house, mandated the committee to resolve the matter for the take-off of the project and report to the House in four weeks.

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