President Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, stated that his administration is already adopting measures to address the inadequacies of policy-making data, which had hitherto hindered comprehensive decision-making, in Nigeria.
President Tinubu made the revelation at the 2023 Comptroller-General of Customs Annual Conference, which was held at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The President, represented by Vice-President Kashim Shettima, regretted the lack of comprehensive data in the country, noting that the lack of comprehensive data has been a technological affliction that has also hindered the growth trajectory of Nigeria and the entire Africa.
The President expressed genuine concern, that the lack of comprehensive data is impeding the ability of his government to make informed governance decisions.
The Nigerian leader highlighted that data was the guiding light in the ever-evolving landscape of the modern world, adding that Nigeria could no longer afford to function in the dark.
The President noted that the grand vision of his administration was to deploy data to make sound governmental decisions.
“Tinubu is an accounting virtuoso with an unparalleled understanding of data and its significance to piloting the affairs of the country.
“It is due to his knowledge of data as the invaluable gold of the 21st century that the President strategically appointed “tech-savvy Nigerians” into critical government positions in order to ensure strategic planning.
“Even before we were given this mandate, we knew that every facet of our lives is woven with data,” the Vice President, Shettima who stood in for Tinubu further stressed.
Tinubu said that the current governance landscape demands a transformative intervention, “and the solution is what has brought us together today.
“We must not only commit to deploying data to make decisions within the government but also address the historical inadequacies of Nigerian policymaking, often impeded by a lack of comprehensive data.”
“There’s no doubt that the chiming of this clock of modernity is inviting us to take action.
“It’s 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 conflicts arising from misinformation and inconsistent policies within the government.”
The President also underscored the need for the integration of complex data to interpret the patterns of transactions and interactions in international trade.
In a related development, Tinubu disclosed plans by his administration to turn Nigeria into a hub of export and import activities.
He observed that the benefits of comprehensive data go beyond determining revenue generation.
“Data provides the sharpest lens 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.
“I assure you that we remain resolute in our belief that Nigeria is unequivocally on track not only to accumulate terabytes of factual surveys but also to establish a robust public service system that upholds data integrity at its core.
“Our ambition extends beyond accumulation; it extends to transformation. We aspire to position Nigeria as the preferred destination for all stakeholders involved in export and import activities overseen by the Customs.”
He expressed delight with efforts by the Nigerian Customs Service to accumulate large amounts of data to shape a public service system that upholds data integrity.
The President noted that the first step was to invest in the training and capacity-building of “Customs officers to stand shoulder to shoulder, terabyte by terabyte, with the best minds in the world.”
While declaring the conference open, Tinubu expressed hope that discussions at the annual event would “set the trajectory for a new era in the Nigeria customs service”.
Earlier, the Nigerian Customs Boss, Adewale Adeniyi, said the significance of technology in global Customs operation cannot be overemphasised, hence the Nigeria Customs’ adaptation to global requisitions.
He expressed optimism that the theme of this year’s conference would provide the guiding standards and principles in helping the Nigerian government open the frontiers, as it is requisite that the Customs streamline and integrate its services in its bid for global service delivery.
Also, the Director-General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), Dr Kunio Mikuriya, praised the Nigerian Customs for upscaling global service delivery in maritime service delivery.
He expressed optimism that with the dedication and commitment of the Nigerian customs in adopting technology as a major leeway in global trade, Nigeria would soon became the reference point in Africa’s Customs revolution.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, promised that the state would continue to adapt to innovations and changing times in global trade.
He promised to ensure seamless infrastructure and a conducive environment to enable the Nigeria customs services to match global standards and also make the organisation the best in the world.
Sanwo-Olu, who commended the customs for adopting technology, stressed that thinking out of the box remains critical to Nigeria’s sustainability and growth.
He said there is the belief that CGC’s theme for 2023 is not only commendable but indeed poignant in Nigeria’s quest for world growth and development.