The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning take responsibility for the management of a portal in charge of the issuance of import duty exemption certificates (IDEC) as well as vehicle identification and registration numbers.

After the weekly meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said that the approval was for the automation of the process of the various applications for the exemptions that were coming to the Ministry.

The Ministry has already upgraded the application process for IDEC by the acquisition of an end-to-end automated portal for easier, faster, simpler, more effective and efficient service delivery. The change management of IDEC application process to an end-to-end automated portal is obviously for seamless and faster service delivery.

The IDEC automated portal is also designed and developed to improve, expedite and sustain the application process for the processing of duty waivers, exemptions and concessions. According to the Ministry, all IDEC Certificates can be activated and utilised online through the IDEC Portal.

Speaking on the sectors covered, Ahmed said that the categories of import duty payments and other tax incentives covered a number of sectors, including the downstream gas-utilisation projects, the agro-allied processing projects, commercial aircraft engines and spare parts, automobile assembly, iron and steel production, power, including thermal hydro, solar and wind, textiles- plants, machinery and equipment imported to be used for mining operations.

Ahmed further said: “In the process of these exemptions, we realised that government was actually ceding quite a significant amount of revenue through this process. Because the process was largely paper based, we got approval to automate this process, to enhance efficiency, to block possible leakage and also to reduce the amount of time that the ministry takes to review the exemption request and provide the necessary approvals.”

There will also be a N60, 000 application fee for all applications and 5% surcharge on the waived amount for all commercial transactions. But those transactions are exempt from paying the 5%

“This portal will be managed by the ministry and the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS). The vehicle identification number will be available to any user to access to find out information on vehicles. On our part, on the IDEC component, we will be able to see how much waivers have been granted to which sectors and also track the performers of those waivers and reduce the cost subsequently,” she also said.

The portal is an understanding based on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Ministry and Messrs Fourcore Technology Solutions Limited. The company will develop, deploy, manage and transfer back to the ministry. They are to be earning revenue which is coming from IDEC application fee.

The technology company will earn 10 percent of the revenue to enable them recover the cost of deployment as well as the management as they will be managing the project over a 10-year period.

Some advantages of this upgrade are as stated below: Applications status can be tracked by applicants online through their dashboard; Stop the apparent financial losses associated with the current Duty Exemption Process, thus saving the government billions of Naira that hitherto would have been lost due to inefficiencies in the present system; Processing officers can access their dashboard anywhere and anytime; Standardise and simplify the processes for all waiver requests to eliminate bottlenecks and subjectivity thereby guaranteeing ease of doing business and ultimately making Nigeria a preferred destination for investment; Improve process efficiency and accountability by drastically reducing processing turn-around time from about 60 days to no more than five business days; Eliminate subjectivity in IDEC processing, thus infusing transparency and accountability; Provide consolidated data on all applications, values of imported goods for which incentive are sought, amount conceded, amount utilised from the approved waiver and consequently all consolidated data required for fiscal policy reviews.

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