Amid controversy, the Federal government has approved an e-Customs modernization project at N142.24 billion.
The approval is coming amid reports of an existing court order restraining the e-custom project from proceeding.
Meanwhile, Clem Agba, the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning said he is unaware of any court order on the project.
He disclosed this to State House correspondents shortly after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Villa in Abuja.
Agba explained that the concessionaire includes Bergman Securities Consultant and Suppliers Limited as the project sponsor, Africa Finance Corporation UFC as the lead financier and Huawei Technologies as the lead technical service provider.
Agba said the concessionaire had furnished the government with $9m (N4.14 billion) security from the satisfactory performance of the project plus a debt facility timesheet in the sum of $300m (N138 billion) to finance the first phase of the project.
He stressed that the concessionaire would take 45 per cent of all that accrues to the comprehensive input service scheme while 55 per cent goes to the federal government confers.
The Minister added that the concessionaire would also keep 25 per cent of what accrues to the Nigerian export supervision scheme, while 75 per cent will go to the federal government.
But on April 18, two Senior Advocates of Nigeria reportedly asked the Federal Government, Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to obey the court order regarding a dispute on the multi-million Naira E-customs modernization project.
The legal luminary, Messrs Ahmed Raji and Dipo Okpeseyi, in separate court letters obtained by DAILY POST, warned the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, against efforts being made to get the Federal Executive Council’s approval over the re-award of the project.
Okpeseyi, according to the letter dated April 11, 2023, to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said, “It is despite all these that the Nigeria Customs Service is pushing to have the FEC grant another approval with the sole purpose of embarrassing, reaching and undermining the earlier approval and ratification by the FEC and prejudice the matter pending in court.”
Recall that in June 2022, the Federal High Court in Abuja had restricted the Federal Government from enforcing and giving effect to an agreement on the Customs Modernisation Project allegedly executed by its agents on May 30, 2022.
The e-Customs concession project has continued to be controversial over time, stalling its implementation.
The development comes amid Nigerians’ concerns about hasty project approvals in the twilight of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.