Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed

The Federal Executive Council FEC, Nigeria’s apex policy making body in its weekly meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari has approved $3.1 billion concession for the end to end automation of the Nigeria Customs Service .

The service, which had before now undergone through series of reforms and automation of its processes, is currently enmeshed in full scale analogue operations, as it conducts 100 per cent physical examination on over 85 per cent of the country’s imports and exports, with the attendant high level of inefficiency.

The country’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed disclosed this at the end of the virtual meeting of the body held Wednesday in Abuja.

Ahmed also disclosed that the period of the concession is 20 years and that the funding is solely from various consortia with the revenue expected from the automation estimated at $176billion.

The Council also approved the upgrade of safe towers in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt airports.

It was further gathered that the airport upgrade, which will cost N13.122 billion, will among others entail the upgrade of the analogue systems to digital, which will also lead to the transmission of the weather reports instantly as against the current hourly practice, which will enhance safety.

The FEC also reiterated the need for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs to consult the Federal Government-owned Galaxy Backbone Limited before budgeting and that all payments should go to the Treasury Single Account TSA.

The Council also noted that all federal institutions have equally been assessed to see what Information Communication Technology ICT upgrades are needed.

According to the Council, the identified upgrades are to commence immediately.

The meeting also gave approval for the acquisition of a property at the Aviation Village, Abuja as part of efforts to aid the fight against drug abuse.

The building, formerly owned by Chachangi Airlines, was bought at the cost of N1.196billion with a delivery period of four weeks, will serve as accommodation for officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA.