Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government has acquired an automated customs gateway portal for the management of Import Duty Exemption Certificates, through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) arrangement.
Ahmed, who was represented by Mrs Anita Shittu, Director, Human Resource Management, Ministry of Finance, said this at the Third Quarter, 2019 PPP Units Consultative Forum meeting, on Thursday in Abuja.
Ahmed said that the ministry has also through PPP, undertaken a Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme (The Scheme), under Executive Order 007 of 2019.
According to her, the objective of the gateway portal is to ensure that government effectively tracks and manages all revenue accruable from import duties and other charges.
“It would also ensure accurate duty payment, streamline the process by which import duty waivers are granted and eliminate all forms of subjectivity in the grant of fiscal incentives.
“The project has two components. The development and deployment of a bespoke software for the process and the management and operations of the system.
“The software was procured directly and has been deployed to the ministry.
“The ministry is in the process of procuring the management and operations part of the contract via PPP arrangement,” she said.
Ahmed said that the road scheme otherwise called ‘‘The Scheme” was an initiative that would enable private sector participants partner with the Federal Government to bridge the road infrastructure gap in Nigeria.
She said it was intended to be a PPP intervention that would enable the Federal Government leverage on private sector funding for the construction or refurbishment of eligible road infrastructure in an efficient and effective manner.
This, she said, would create value for money through private sector discipline.
“The scheme will also guarantee participants timely and full recovery of funds provided for the construction or refurbishment of eligible roads and road infrastructure through the grant of tax credit.”
Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), advocated for gender sensitive infrastructural development in the country.
According to him, infrastructure is not gender-neutral and gaps in access to good infrastructure affects women disproportionately.
“When taps are not running in our villages, it is our women and the girls that go to fetch water.
“The boys go to school and the girls will go late and they are expected to perform at the same level,” he said.
Izuwah said that to mitigate the gap, the ICRC and the Australian government had begun a major effort to strengthen women’s involvement in infrastructure and PPPs towards delivering responsive infrastructure and PPPs.
He also disclosed that as at the end of August, the commission had granted nine Outline Business Case (OBC) and nine Full Business Case (FBC) compliance certificates for 2019.
According to him, this brings the number of total compliance certificates issued since inception to 76 OBC and 31 FBC:
“The latest of these certificates is the OBC compliance certificate for the 22 teaching hospitals upgrade and the FBC compliance certificate for the Automated Ticketing System issued to the Federal Ministry of Transport and the National Railway Corporation (NRC).
“This is something that will transform the way ticketing is done to a world class level.
“People no longer need to go to the station and stand, they can either offline or online purchase their tickets and that will increase revenue generation and transparency in the process.”
Izuwah told the forum that the ICRC was continually taking custody of all executed PPP agreements and ensuring compliance by embarking on projects compliance monitoring visits for both pre and post contract to PPP projects in the country.
He, however, said that it was his belief that some of the recent PPP engagements would greatly improve national fiscal and budgetary issues.
The ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria and to address physical infrastructure deficit, which hampers economic development.
Amaka E. Nliam