The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has expressed readiness to partner with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Scretieriate for enhanced trade facilitation in the African Continent.
The CGC made this known on Monday, 8 January 2024, when he received members of AfCFTA at the Customs Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.
Lamenting the low trade volume in Africa, CGC Adeniyi said the NCS fully understands the importance of balancing trade facilitation and revenue while pointing out that Africa’s share in global trade is around 3–4 percent.
He expressed concerns about how the African trade system refuses to grow beyond 14–15 percent, estimated over the last three to four years.
He said, “We are not unmindful of the benefits that trade presents — economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation because Customs trade plays a role in fostering regional and international bonds.”
He expressed immense joy when AfCFTA started over 10 years ago and the positive projections many international organizations have given about the Continental Free Trade Area.
The Customs’ Boss described the Guide Trade Initiative as ‘important for the administration of countries’ focusing on ways to grow their trade market, adding, “There is a need for collaboration in the verification of goods origin at the port as NCS has been designated the appropriate authority and also collaborate with other government agencies.”
He said, “I talk to you about the fact that we are projecting a 2 percent increase in the shower of rejecting over 1 million people out of poverty. And you know, more importantly, N450 billion GDP. So, this all sounds extremely promising.”
Speaking further, the CGC said his Administration has taken several measures aimed at generally improving trade facilitation in Nigeria, adding, “We are planning the implementation of a time-release study in the first quarter of this year working with other agencies of government.”
Corroborating on the importance of data analytics, the CGC said, “We must invest in data analytics, and we must bring all our officers up to speed on the basic elements or requirements for data analysis. Last December, we made this the subject of our Comptroller General’s conference — it was a very big occasion that attracted all our stakeholders, and they were all in accord with us that we need to do a bit more in data analysis.”
Addressing the CGC earlier, the Secretary-General of, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), His Excellency Wamkele Mene, congratulated the CGC on his appointment and confirmation — expressing excitement to proffer solutions to the issues bedeviling trade in Africa.
He highlighted the importance of cooperation between AfCFTA and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in tackling trade impediments. He conveyed his excitement about jointly finding solutions to the issues affecting trade in Nigeria, emphasizing that AfCFTA is committed to collaborating with the NCS to enhance trade facilitation not only in Nigeria but across the African continent.
On the potential impact of their collaboration, Mr. Mene expressed optimism that the synergy between AfCFTA and NCS would significantly improve trade and revenue generation in various African countries, including but not limited to Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Kenya. He underscored the strategic role that effective trade facilitation plays in fostering economic growth and development across the region.
AfCFTA, established to promote intra-African trade and economic integration, sees its partnership with NCS as a crucial step towards realizing its objectives. The collaboration aims to streamline customs procedures, reduce trade barriers, and enhance the efficiency of cross-border trade.
The Secretary-General’s visit marks a milestone in the ongoing efforts to harness the economic potential of the African continent through improved trade practices.