The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (retd.) says the Service has attained 75 per cent automation level while cutting down inspection hours of imported items and papers processing at ports and airports to ease business operations.
Ali, who disclosed this on Tuesday during the three-day 1st Extra-ordinary Meeting of African Union Sub-committee of Directors-General of Customs in Abuja, said the NCS has achieved much for the 18 months he has been in office.
“If you have been following the trend of Ease of Doing Business initiated by the Vice President, the Customs is key to that. We have reduced the hours of inspection and physical examination; we have also reduced paper processing from 17 to 10,” he said.
The Customs boss explained that the meeting was to bring the African Union, AU, Customs Administration together to articulate a common agenda and speak in unison during the World Customs Organisation, WCO, annual meeting in July 2017.
Ali stated that it was also to discuss the impact of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, TFA, adopted by WCO this year to enable African countries ratify it.
While declaring the meeting opened, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun expressed concerns over illicit financial flows. She charged the participants to deliberate towards boosting border security to improve revenue collection, and enhance trade facilitation.
The WCO Secretary-General, Mr Kunio Mikuriya lauded the initiators of the meeting, even as he commended Nigeria’s effort at border security.
Mikuriya pointed out that improved trade facilitation is only achievable with enhanced security at the borders.