Customs May Cut 70% Jobs After $3.1bn Automation
There are strong indications that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) may lose about 70 per cent of its workforce if the Federal Government implements the port automation and concession to its revenue department.
The government had approved $3.1 billion for the automation of the operations of NCS.
The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who made this disclosure after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said it was in pursuit of the diversification of the economy with a target of $176bn revenue from the $3.1bn concessionary investment.
However, a former Comptroller General of Customs, Hamman Bello Ahmed faulted this.
The ex-Customs CG, in a telephone interview, said about 70 percent of the current workforce of the Service could be sacked because the concessionaires would not retain them.
Ahmed also lamented that the entire process was in flagrant violation of the Public Procurement Act.
“You don’t expect that the concessionaires would retain the present workforce since the new arrangements would imply that officers would no longer be involved in revenue collection duties.
“The contract document is not a public document but it is also the right of Nigerians to get the details of that contract.
“So, the Federal Ministry of Finance or the Customs Service should come out to tell us what the details of the contract are.”
He also said the revenue projected by the contractor to generate in 20 years was too meagre compared to the leakages the service has recorded in 10 years.
“If they say they want to computerise the Service as well as train the Customs officers on how to use their equipment, that is another issue because these are the equipment that guide customs officers in their day to day activities,” he added.