August 2, 2021

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FEC approves N13b for 4 airports automation, 3.1b USD for customs automation

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L-R; Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government, President Muhammadu Buhari, Capt. Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, at the commissioning of NAIA, Abuja

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) at its virtual meeting on Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved a princely sum of N13 billion for the automation of safety equipment at four international airports namely, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt. The council also approved another sum of 3.1 billion U.S. dollars for the automation of operations of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

The Ministers of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika and that of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made this known to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting in Abuja.

Capt. Hadi Sirika expressed optimism that the safe tower projects, when completed, would increase efficiency and reduce the workload of air traffic controllers in the affected airports.

Sirika announced that “Today, Civil Aviation submitted a memorandum to the council which was consequently approved”.

He explained about the project thus; “The memo is to upgrade and refurbish the safe tower equipment in four airports, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt. This is just to increase the efficiency of the airports and reduce the workload in the control tower and to automate what was hitherto analogue system to digital.

The Aviation Minister broke down the project into bits and pieces for better understanding in the following words, “Quick example is all of the data we collect at the end of the runways within the airports will now be displayed instantly on our platform in the control tower”.

He said, “Information regarding weather, regarding all of the components of weather, winds, rain, macroburst etc will be displayed automatically. So, the issue of giving out weather reports every hourly will change to give you instant weather which will improve the pilot efficiency and the workload on the controller is reduced and it can handle more flights into the airport.

Sirika disclosed that “The total contract sum is N13.122, 230, 999.17.” And the payment of the contract sum he said would be in two parts”

On what the payment would cover and the Value Added Tax component he said, “The first component which is a foreign component is €28,489,565 million while the naira component is N3.491,504,488.31. Of course, there will be 7.5 per cent added VAT. It will be for the completion period of 12 months.”

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said she presented to the council for approval a memo for the e-Custom modernization project.

She said: “The purpose of the memo we presented to Council was for a project that will enable the complete automation of the Nigeria Custom Service processes and procedures using the application and information and technology in all aspects of Customs administration.’

According to Zainab, the main objective of the project is to completely automate every aspect of the customs business and institutionalize the use of smart and emerging technologies to enhance the statutory function of the NCS in the area of revenue generation.

She revealed that the project would be financed through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) under a concessionary period of 20 years.

The Finance Minister announced that “So, Council today ratified Mr President’s approval for the Public-Private Partnership, PPP, or concession for a 20-year period to Messers E-Customs HC Project Limited as a concessionaire for the delivery of customs modernization project.

Zainab Ahmed further volunteered information on the novel ICT project for Customs thus, “This is a project that will not have an immediate cost to the government, the investors are providing all of the financing and this revenue will be deployed in three phases and they will look over the investment in the concessionary period of 20 years.

Having made a spirited effort for journalists to comprehend, her pay off no doubt stoke a flurry of latent agitation for comprehension which no doubt will require immediate clarification as the minister declared that, “The key point is that it is (the project) not costing the federal government one thing, the 3.1 billion dollars being proposed will be sourced by the sponsors and the partners,” she said.

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