The Senate on Tuesday lauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for acquiring Hi-Definition scanners and platform to check foreign exchange leakages and other infractions in the import-export value chain.
The Chairman of Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, made the commendation in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the technology would help in exposing leakages associated with revenue collection and other sharp practices in the Nigerian Customs Service and other stakeholders in the import-export chain.
According to Uzodinma, the CBN has acquired a platform called Enterprise Screening Platform, through which leakages experienced in allocation and management of foreign exchange and revenue collection by the Nigerian Customs Service will be blocked.
”The platform is designed to aid the CBN in stabilising the Naira by providing accurate cross referenced data on all trade facilitation documents.
”Those documents include Form M, Bill of Lading, Letters of Credit and Clean Certificate of Inspection.
”The platform will also help in tracking repatriation of foreign exchange proceeds record and online real time remote screening of in-bound and out-bound cargo or passengers,” he explained.
Uzodinma said that the new technology would replace the manual process of examination of cargoes and other processes that had led to so much corruption in the system.
He pointed out that the platform would further ensure judicious utilisation of scarce foreign exchange to ensure that genuine foreign exchange users gained unfettered and transparent access.
He added that the process would effectively eliminate various foreign exchange abuses while leading to the appreciation in value of the Naira.
According to him, the new system will check corrupt practices like abuse of Form M, violation of foreign exchange manual issued by CBN, incorrect classification, under-valuation and under-declaration.
Other challenges in the process, the committee chairman said, were incorrect declaration, incorrect origin, error in calculation, temporary importation, exemptions and waivers and foreign exchange manipulations.
He said that unit cost analysis and excise, smuggling and illegal removal of cargoes from terminals and lack of exit certificate by vessels would be completely eliminated.
”The measures which have already been introduced by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, came to the fore at the recent hearing of the Senate Joint Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff and Marine Transport.
”At the hearing, CBN governor through the Chairman of the Technical Committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS), informed the committee that Nigeria was losing trillions of Naira through the old system.
”The CBN governor said the platform as designed would utilise revolutionary modular architecture to integrate Hardware and Software solutions to create a factual data mapping platform for absolute visibility of all transactions within the import-export chain.
”He said the platform comprises of a Network Operating Centre (NOC) that is a centralised command and control centre, where real time data from the Operational Screening Stations (OSS) are monitored.
”The OSS will be deployed at all exit and entry points in the country – land, air and sea – and comprise High Definition Scanners and proprietary analysis software.
”These are remotely linked by high speed Tri-Channel data path comprising of a mix of VSAT, BTS and fibre channels to the NOC,” he said.
The lawmaker said the screening platform had Remote Screening Stations (RSS) that were configured as ”war room” which would be installed at the CBN, the Nigerian Customs headquarters, the Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.
According to him, the Enterprise Screening Platform will be monitored from those locations in real time on a Video Graphic Display with 36 panels given life views of activities across all Nigeria’s entry and exit points.
He urged the Customs to adapt to the new platform to check leakages associated with revenue collection and other sharp practices in the service.
The committee had at its hearing, frowned at activities of a cabal at the ports which had defrauded the country of over N30 billion.
”The cabal from investigation connive with officials to carry out the infractions in daily transactions at the ports, commercial banks, shipping companies, terminal owners and operators.”
The chairman pledged the committee’s determination to work with relevant agencies to stop the fraudulent practices, adding that all those indicted would be prosecuted according to the law. (NAN)