The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N13 billion for the automation of safety equipment at Lagos, Kano, Abuja, and Port Harcourt international airports.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the virtual meeting of the Council presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, also approved 3.1 billion dollars for the automation of the operations of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS).
The Ministers of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made this known to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting in Abuja.
Sirika expressed optimism that the safe tower projects, when completed, would increase efficiency and reduce the workload of air controllers in the affected airports.
He said: “Today, Civil Aviation submitted a memorandum to council which was consequently approved.
“The memo is to upgrade and refurbish the safe tower equipment in four airports, Lagos, Kano, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.
“This is just to increase the efficiency of the airports and reduce the workload in the control tower and to automate what was hitherto analog system to digital.
“Quick example is all of the data we collect at the end of the runways within the airports will now be displayed instantly on our platform in the control tower.
“Information regarding weather, regarding all of the components of weather, winds, rain, macroburst etc will be displayed automatically.
“So, the issue of giving out weather reports every hour will change to give you instant weather which will improve the pilot efficiency, and the workload on the controller is reduced and it can handle more flights into the airport.
“The total contract sum is N13.122, 230, 999.17.’’
He further explained that the payment of the contract sum would be in two parts.
“First component which is a foreign component is €28,489,565 million while the naira component is N3.491,504,488.31.
“Of course, there will be 7.5 per cent added VAT. It will be for the complete period of 12 months.’’
On her part, Ahmed said the approval for the e-Custom modernization project followed a memo she presented to the Council.
She said: “The purpose of the memo we presented to Council was for a project that will enable the complete automation of the Nigeria Custom Service processes and procedures using the application and information and technology in all aspects of Customs administration.’
According to the minister, the main objective is to completely automate every aspect of the customs business and institutionalize the use of smart and emerging technologies to enhance the statutory function of the NCS in the area of revenue generation.
She revealed that the project would be financed through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) under a concessionary period of 20 years.
“So, Council today ratified Mr President’s approval for the PPP concession for a 20-year period to Messers E-Customs HC Project Limited as a concessionaire for the delivery of customs modernization project.
“This is a project that will not have an immediate cost to the government, the investors are providing all of the financings and this revenue will be deployed in three phases and they will look over the investment in the concessionary period of 20 years.
“The key point is that it is not costing the federal government one thing, the 3.1 billion dollars being proposed will be sourced by the sponsors and the partners,’’ she said.