Vice President Kashim Shettima (left), Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, during the opening ceremony of the CGC Conference on Data Analytics in Lagos…Thursday
By Anthony Nwachukwu
A lack of comprehensive data for technological application has impeded Nigeria’s growth trajectory through inability to make informed decisions, and ensured continued missed opportunities, the Federal Government has said.
Backing the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on data-based future operations for improved efficiency in revenue generation, anti-smuggling activities and overall professionalism, President Bola Tinubu stated that “every part of the world is at the mercy of data and every day we are reminded of the expanding volume of data upon which our decisions must be rooted.”
Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima at opening ceremony of the Comptroller-General of Customs Conference in Lagos Thursday, described data as “a light guiding the ever-evolving landscape of our modern world, and we can’t function in the dark.”
Speaking on the theme, “Leveraging Data Analytics for Secure and Efficient Trade Facilitation in Customs Operations”, Tinubu regretted that “for too long, the absence of comprehensive data for technological application has hindered not just Nigeria but the entire continent’s growth trajectory.
“This inadequacy has impeded our ability to make informed decisions, perpetuating a cycle of missed opportunities and some optimal outcomes.”
According to him, the current governance landscape demands a transformative intervention, and with the ongoing conference on data being the solution, “the timing of this clock of modernity is inviting us to take action.
“It is inviting us to adopt evidence-based processes and innovative strategies to align policies with the objectives of this administration, to streamline decision-making, and to resolve conflict arising in the country.
“We will not only commit to developing new policies, but also to optimising them from misinformation and inconsistent policies within the government. The integration of complex data to interpret the patterns of our transactions and interactions is even more needed in international trade, because the dividends transcend the determination of revenues.
“Data provides the sharpest lens for us to connect the dots. Even in establishing the security of our borders, we can easily determine the future of our countries. We can easily determine the traffic of people and goods around a specific border, and share indisputable information with other nations with just a punch on our computers.”
On his part, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu assured that Lagos State would create the enabling environment for the agency to grow well, having already opened the Lekki Deep Seaport and Badagry Port on the way, in addition to the existing ones.
“Nigeria Customs has recognised its role in modern-day technology; of ensuring that technology is a strong driver that can be an enabler to innovate and develop capacity and capability that will take the service to an enviable position next to none; that it can compete and compare with other similar services anywhere in the world.
“We believe that leveraging technology and building the capacity of all your officers to analyse data accurately and to have the ability to form a well thought-out decision making after analysis is critical and germane.
“For the country to achieve N1 trillion GDP between now and 2030 is daunting, but with customs, that is realisable. We need to be able to diversify and think out of the box. I believe that’s what Nigeria Customs is doing here today.
“Lagos will continue to remain your host. The 70 per cent rights that we currently do, we can do more, because when you do more, Lagos will do more. When you realise more, Lagos will realise more, and by extension, the whole country will do more and benefit from it.”
Earlier, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, said the conference “is a transformative journey characterised by impactful collaboration, unwavering commitment and collective problem-solving. Together we strive into a future where customs actively contributes to the progress and prosperity of our great nation.”
Recalling that the last edition held 12 years ago, he said the choice of the theme was a strategic alignment with the present demands of contemporary governance at a time dominated by information and digital advancements.
“The significance of data analytics and customs operations cannot be overstated. This theme places a spotlight on the indispensable role of technology in trade facilitation, ensuring that our discussions transcend routine, firmly in actionable insights.
“Nigeria Customs is also constantly striving for performance in all our engagements, our commitment to using meticulous data management to improve security and trade and to positively engage our stakeholders is actively on and running.”
He added: This conference “is a dynamic avenue for practical suggestions and constructive feedbacks by bridging the gap between policies and implementation. Our aim is to ensure that costs on service align seamlessly with the strategic goals set by the President Bola Tinubu administration.”