Customs inaugurates operators programme to enhance trade

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Customs CG, Adewale Adeniyi.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has inaugurated an Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programme to enhance efficiency and predictability of trade in the country.

The Comptroller-General of NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.

Adeniyi said the programme would foster collaboration of the NCS, other government agencies and experts to boost the AEO programmes.

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He added that the initiative would boost the ease of doing business within the nation’s ports.

“If you have observed, you will see that the AEO cuts across virtually every player in the sector, the exporter, the importer, government agencies, regulatory agencies, the customs and everybody in one way or the other.

“So, this allows us to address some of those issues so that when next operators talk about compiling how much it takes them, we will see data that are a little bit more friendly,” he said.

He assured stakeholders of the service’s determination to ensure the success of the pilot programme, which would begin from April 15.

He said the objective of the pilot programme was to evaluate the visibility and effectiveness of the implementation with a view to receiving the necessary feedback from stakeholders to guide further actions.

“All these pilots that we want to run, we aim to identify potential challenges, fine-tune our processes, and lay the groundwork for a full-scale rollout of the AEO programme,” he said.

He reiterated the commitment of the NCS toward fostering transparency, inclusivity and collaboration, while ensuring that the programme’s design and execution aligned seamlessly with international standards.

According to him, selected importers, exporters, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), customs license agents, logistics operators, and government agencies would run the pilot scheme.

Also, Awa Nnenna, the Chief Superintendent of Customs and Project Manager of the AEO, said the pilot phase of the programme was designed to streamline custom’s clearance processes.

Nnenna noted that key benefits of the AEO programme included expedited customs clearance procedures and the establishment of mutual trust between customs authorities and accredited operators.

“By facilitating smoother trade operations, the programme aims to stimulate economic growth,” Nnenna said.

Mr Charles Odii, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, commended the NCS for its proactive approach in engaging small-scale business owners through the programme.

Odii said the initiative would contribute to the growth of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and foreign exchange reserves.

He underscored the importance of creating avenues for domestic business owners, particularly SMEs, to participate and benefit from opportunities such initiatives would provide.

Odi expressed the hope that the programme would facilitate a more conducive environment for business growth and development. (NAN)

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