Lagos, Dec. 15, 2023: President Bola Tinubu has described the absence of comprehensive data as the major technology affliction affecting Nigeria’s growth and Africa at large.
Tinubu represented by the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shetima, said this at the Comptroller -General of Custom (CGC) 2023 conference on Thursday in Lagos.
The conference had the theme:” Leveraging Data Analytics for Secure and Efficient Trade Facilitation in Customs Operations.”
He noted that the inadequacy of data had impeded the ability of Nigeria to make informed decisions, perpetrating a circle of missed opportunities and sub-optimal outcomes.
He added that the country had been hindered by the fourth industrial revolution.
“Every part of the world is at the mercy of data and everyday we are reminded of the expanding volume of data upon which our divisions must be rooted.
“Data is the life guiding the ever-evolving landscape of our modern world. It is this realisation that sounds the invaluable goal of this century that prompted Tinubu’s strategic placement of tech savvy in Nigerians critical positions in the government.
“These appointments ensures not only strategic planning but also the cultivation of Nigeria as a hub of refined minds in the global knowledge economy.
“We must not only commit to deploying data to make decisions within the government, but to address the historical inadequacies of Nigeria policy making often impeded by lack of comprehensive data,” he said.
He pointed out that the current governance landscape demands a transformative intervention and the solutions was what had brought everyone here together today.
“The integration of complex data to interpret the volumes of our transitions and interactions is even more needed in international trade because the dividends transcend to determination of revenues.
“Data provides the sharpest links for us to connect the dots. Even in establishing the security of our borders, 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,” he said.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said the customs service performs critical roles bordering on revenue collection, participation of national and international trade as well as securing the national borders against the infiltration of the country with illegal items, among others.
Sanwo-Olu said the NCS had recognised its role at ensuring modern day technology as a strong driver and an enabler for it to innovate and develop capacity and capability that would take the service to an enviable position.
He added that the NCS would compete and compare with other services of similar likes anywhere in the world with enhanced technology.
“For the country to achieve the N1 trillion Gross Domestic Product (GDP) target of President Tinubu between now and 2030, the NCS must play a critical role by leveraging technology in data analysis.
“They should be able to form a well-thought-out decision making after analysis, which is critical and germane,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State would continue to provide the enabling environment for trade and as well contribute over 70 per cent revenue to the state government through the NCS.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, noted that without data, one could not plan, urging the NCS to utilise data in their operations.
Ogunwusi urged the controller General to give back to Lagos, where they get their 70 per cent revenue.
Earlier, the CGC of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, noted that the choice of the conference theme, was a strategic alignment with the pressing demands of contemporaries and governance.
He added that the significance of data analytics in customs operations cannot be overstated in a time dominated by information and digital advancements.
“This theme places a spotlight on the indispensable role of technology in trade facilitation, ensuring that our discussions transcend mere theory, rooting themselves firmly in actionable insights.
“So, we therefore, welcome you to a conversation where innovation meets implementation, and worlds evolve into driving force of positive change,” he said.
He pointed out that the service was commited to using meticulous data management to improve security and trade.
“Just as Lagos will never sleep, NCS will remain sleepless until they meet their goal of integrating and streamlining their operations to international standards.