Consortium Rounds Up On Locally Built Customs Business Automation Process

A consortium of nine technical and financial partners engaged in the design and building of modernisation project for the automation of the business processes of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said it has gotten to an advanced stage in the building process meant to simplify and enhance the experience of stakeholders in the trade value chain, making it easy to obtain import and export clearances, pay duties and obtain the release of goods.

Conducting journalists round the facility currently housed at the senior customs quarters in Abuja, general manager of the trade modernisation project, Ahmed Ogunsola said the Unified Customs Management System was designed to allow traders (importers) have a self-serving peculiar dashboard where they would have access to register, upload all the required regulatory documents and track the stage of his consignment.

“The project is done with all the internal systems. We are now engaging stakeholders including registered customs agents, the CBN and NAFDAC,” Mr Ogunsola said yesterday. He said from day one, Customs officers were in the room with the various partners in the construction process to date. “The software for the project was designed, developed and deployed in this room,” he stated, bragging that the idea is to ensure an effective implementation process in line with knowledge transfer agreement at the inception of the launch of the automation process in 2023.

Ongunsola dispelled fears of possible security attack from cyber criminals, saying that the website is built with seven layers of security in terms of software and code-level cybersecurity analysis. He bragged that his team is working with one of the leading cybersecurity companies for effective protection of the system from invaders. “We are confident in terms of cybersecurity. We are taking security seriously.”

He said comfortability was considered a top priority in the building and customised furnishing of the workspace facilities, including rest rooms, kitchen, with access control for the project.

The building has 24 hours power supply with four power sources. The project manager said the consortium is also building a 110kva inverter solar system to ensure that the project management office runs for 3-4 days without power from Disco or generating set.

There are seven work groups: software, cybersecurity, server and cloud, geospatial, networking and telecom, non-intrusive inspection (for cargo inspection) and project management for deliverables in a bid to fasten work on the project Ogunsola failed to give a definite time lag for its completion.

Flanked by officers of the NCS who are part of the building process, he the project manager said the project has an electronic powered modernisation hub that was designed as a collaboration space that was specially designed with a special table with only one of its kind in Nigeria.

Customs national public relations officer, Abdullahi Maiwada said the project would significantly lead to growth in the revenue profile of the federal government and bring Nigeria at par with the rest of the word in the deployment of technology to facilitate international trade.

He said it will greatly improve trade facilitation, entrench transparency in port operations and curb smuggling.

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