EXPORTS: Customs CG Harps on Trade Facilitation through AfCFTA, AGOA

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By Abubakar Usman

The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has reiterated the Service commitment to grow the Nigerian economy through enhanced trade facilitation tools leveraging on platforms and policies like the African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCFTA) and the US government backed African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) .

Speaking in Lagos at the Science Of Trade (SOT) Conference organised by Ascend Studios Foundation in partnership with the US Consulate and other groups, Adeniyi who was represented by Comptroller Babatunde Olomu, fsi, Customs Area Controller for Apapa Port, said the NCS is setting the process of perfecting trade procedures within the customs zone.

According to the CGC, Nigeria Customs is collaborating with the Director General Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) of the European Union (EU) for efficient export monitoring and trade facilitation.

He added that as part of the NCS outreach program, the Service is also working with other agencies of the Nigerian government to maximize the opportunities in trade and reduce the incident of Nigerian goods being returned from countries of destination.

For traders willing to participate in AGOA, the CGC disclosed that efforts are on for the establishment of a one-stop-shop export seat for export documentation so that it will reduce the time taken for Nigerian exporters to get their goods out of our port.

According to him, programmes like the Time Release Studies, which we are targeting towards importing of goods and how much time it takes for businessmen to clear their goods in the ports are geared towards enhancing customs efficiency in Nigeria in line with global best practices.

The exercise, according to him is directed at having a scientific measure of how long and how much it costs our businessmen to export their products through NCS control with a view to identifying bureaucratic procedures, or laws that are creating delays so that people compliant traders can get their cargoes off the ports, border stations and airports in good time.

He also listed continuous training and retraining of different cadres of customs officers, regular interface with various stakeholders and sustained improvement on technological capacity as part of efforts embarked upon since his assumption of office.

While participating as a panelist during an interactive session, Comptroller Olomu gave detailed analysis of the Trade Facilitation benefits in the NCS Act 2023 and the ease of doing business advantages captured in the new customs law.

The CAC Apapa, while urging participants comprising of entrepreneurs, diplomats and other members of the trading community to keep themselves abreast with the provisions of government import and export prohibition lists, said Apapa port command is evolving a reliable system to process non intrusive inspection of cargoes that meets World Customs Organisation (WCO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) standards.

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