The Nigeria Customs Service is advocating for strengthened collaboration with the maritime sector to tap into the immense potential offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, put forth this recommendation during the 43rd Annual Council Meeting and 18th Roundtable of Managing Directors/Exhibition of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) on Monday, November 6, 2023, in Lagos.
Adeniyi underlined that AfCFTA’s objectives present a beacon of hope for transforming Africa’s economic landscape, encompassing facets such as fostering intra-African trade and sustainable economic growth.
He highlighted the resonance between these goals and the eight-point agenda championed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration. This agenda aspires to guarantee food security, eradicate poverty, stimulate economic growth, generate employment, provide access to capital, ensure security, enhance the ease of doing business, uphold the rule of law, and combat corruption.
The Comptroller General revealed that Customs has taken proactive measures to align its operations with the aspirations related to trade facilitation and port management. These initiatives include reshaping Nigeria into Africa’s most efficient trading hub, addressing the persistent issue of port congestion, and enforcing the Presidential Directive for the swift clearance of goods at seaports within 48 hours in line with Executive Order 001.
Furthermore, a comprehensive transformational program to bolster export development is being launched, alongside a shift in performance metrics for key government agencies to prioritize trade facilitation. The implementation of the National Single Window trading platform is also on the horizon.
The Customs Chief emphasized the interdependence between Customs and the maritime industry in ensuring the triumph of AfCFTA. He asserted that in this era of heightened collaboration and interconnection, both entities must work in tandem to secure the overall success of these initiatives.
Adeniyi firmly believes that the success of AfCFTA is closely intertwined with the maritime industry, which plays a pivotal role in Customs operations and the realization of AfCFTA’s objectives.
In his words “These goals resonate profoundly with the eight-point agenda championed by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
“An agenda that aspires to ensure food security, end poverty, foster economic growth, create jobs, provide access to capital, ensure security, improve the ease of doing business, uphold the rule of law, and combat corruption.
“Notably, our initiatives include transforming Nigeria into Africa’s most efficient trading nation, addressing the long-standing issue of port congestion, and enforcing the Presidential Directive for the 48-hour clearance of goods at seaports in accordance with Executive Order 001.
“Furthermore, we are redefining performance measures for key government agencies to emphasize trade facilitation, implementing the National Single Window trading platform, and launching a comprehensive transformational program to support export development.
“It is a powerful reminder that in this era of increased collaboration and interdependence, Customs and the maritime industry must work hand in hand to ensure the overall success of these initiatives,” he said.
For him, the success of AfCFTA is deeply intertwined with the maritime industry, which plays a vital role in Customs operations and the realization of AFCFTA’s objectives.