Amaechi, Adeosun’s Plot To Corner $1bn CISS Fund …As Stakeholders Allege Foul Play

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L-R: Representative of President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Interior, Lt General Abdulrahman Danbazzau (rtd), Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris and Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, during the 9th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Transportation Minister, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi and his Finance counterpart, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun have commenced moves seeking Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval to access over $1billion funds accrued under the Comprehensive Import Supervisor Scheme (CISS) and Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme for a new ICT deal.
In the December 7, 2017 memo to FEC titled “Approval for the Establishment of the National Trade Platform, Joint Memorandum by Honourable Minister of Transportation, the duo are seeking to be allowed to take the one percent Free On Board (FOB) CISS paid by Nigerian importers and the 0.5 percent NESS paid by exporters, as fees for export trade facilitation services as a way of generating more funds.
Over $1billion accrued in the accounts of NESS and CISS that are domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria are being targeted for the project which will involve a Foreign Management Firm, Mckinsery & Company. The company with no track record of ICT but known for being a management consultant was asked to carry out a six-week diagnostic effort to support the project.
The new deal and recent moves seek to oust Webbfontaine Nigeria limited that has been providing ICT backbone service to the Nigerian Customs Service and the Port Trading Community through an existing single window.
The secret document cited by our correspondent is proposing that the funds would be used to fund the revival of the Strategic Trade Infrastructure in the Nigerian port industry, among which are the scanners, the single window and ports community systems.
They also want to use all the revenue that have accumulated in the CISS levy and NESS fund before ever the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) planned to set up the National Trade Platform (NTP).
They are seeking the approval of FEC for them to share the revenue already accrued in the CISS prior to the take-off of the project, to be distributed between the yet to be registered NTP (74 percent for both the Single Window and Scanning Service), and the CISS Secretariat, (26 percent for CISS Administration) and also once the export related segment of the single window is incorporated, the existing Nigeria Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) will be distributed between NTP, 74 percent and NESS Secretariat 26 percent.
The document noted that the investment cost for the SPV include Significant Capital Expenditure, Operational Expenditure Cost for the Single Window, Scanning Services, Port Community System, Upgrades of NCS Management Systems, and IT Infrastructure Upgrades for key partners agencies.
The total 10 years cost for the project to be covered by the SPV is a total of $1.13 billon.
The breakdown shows the National Single Window Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) $127million, Operational Expenditure (OPEX) $387 million, Scanning Services $277 million, Opex $ 186 million, Port Community System Capex $ 22 million and Opex $ 14million for a total $1.13 billion.
Since the NTP will provide both the Scanning and Single Window Services, it is proposed that the CISS levy will be applied as follows: 37 percent of CISS levy support the single window, 37 percent of CISS to support Scanning Business, and 26 percent of CISS levy to be held by the CISS Secretariat from which potential capital releases will be made to Nigeria Customs Services, as has been done in the past.
The document further revealed that the implementation of the project will take between two to three yearsto be fully implemented. Implementation will occur in two phase, the first phase is for the agencies to have already had IT systems suitable for integration, and the second phase for agencies that need their IT systems upgraded and integrated.
According to the Memo, in developing the proposal it was presented to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential enabling business Environmental Council (PBEC) meeting which held last month, at the meeting, the Vice President reported constituted and inaugurated a steering committee that was co-chaired by the Comptroller-general of Cutoms and Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).
A project development team comprising Nigeria Sovereign investment authority (NSIA) Nigeria Customs service and Mckinsery &company was established therefore, to undertake a six weeks diagnostic effort to support the project .While there are worries that these funds are about being pulled out for purpose of the 2019 election without budgetary approval of the national assembly. Some fundamental process for establishment of the trade portal are said to be either ignored or outrightly violated.
Business analyses process like data harmonisation peer review among government and business community to link to the portal to confirm uniformity and establishment of a common blue print are yet to be put in place.

 

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic