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WCO Regional Training Centre for West and Central African Region Conducts Workshop on Data Collection, Analytics

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WCO Regional Training Centre for West and Central African Region Conducts Workshop on Data Collection, Analytics

By Muhammad Bashir

The World Customs Organization Regional Training Centre for West and Central African Region with its Headquarters in Abuja has flagged off a 3-day regional workshop on Data Collection and Analytics for its members in Nigeria’s Capital, Abuja.

The event which took place from Monday 15th to 17th May 2023 was attended by over 40 Customs officials representing different Customs Administrations from the region.

The Project beneficiary countries are Burkina Faso, Tchad, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Gabon, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Republic of Benin, Republic of Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Togo.

Declaring the workshop opened, Vice Chair WCO West and Central African Region who doubles as the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) CFR, described the capacity building as timely, stressing that the training will reshape NCS’ determination of addressing the challenges in the globalization of trade and business, international terrorism and organized crimes amongst others.

He said that the Nigeria Customs Service has made tremendous achievements in the area of accessing and collecting data from trade, which if utilized properly, will enable the Service to meet its target.

“There is a demand for the evolution of Customs’ roles to meet challenges such as globalization of business and trade, international terrorism and organized crimes amongst others. Operationally, we can access and collect large amounts of data from trade, which if effectively utilized, will give us an opportunity to meet our modern expectations of achieving proper data analytics, that will help Customs’ administration in terms of evidence-based decision making.” Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) said.

According to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has made giant strides through trade facilitation, improving compliance, better allocation of resources and many other activities, “these strengthen our ability to deliver on our core functions as both revenue generation, trade facilitation and advancing the security status of the Nigerians.” He added.

“Therefore, every Customs administration must make a concerted effort to enhance its process of collecting data and analytic process. This is what empowered the Nigeria Customs Service in collaborating with the World Customs Organization for the band of data analysts, the BACUDA project.” CGC Hameed Ali said.

The Comptroller-General who revealed how his administration succeeded in establishing a data fusion unit to liberate the benefit of data collection and analytics, also commended the regional training centre for organizing the two-day capacity building on Data Collection and Analytics.

He also urged the participants to use the opportunity as means of changing the narrative in terms of data collection and analytics at their workplaces.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Assistant Comptroller, Kenneth Olowo thanked the WCO for its efforts to deliver the workshop on this important topic and urged the participating Members to pay attention to the deliberations – and motivate themselves to explore the potential of the data analytics.

AC Kenneth said that the Capacity Building was aimed at sharing new ideas on further steps to share information on Data Analytics technologies, emphasizing that data collection and analytics remain the major priorities for the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd).

He also urged them to actively participate in discussions, which according to him, will ultimately make the workshop a successful one.

“The workshop is one of the criteria for the West and Central African region, and we are focusing on data collection and analytics – because it is an area that World Customs Organization is so interested in. We expect our participants to be trained on how data are being gathered and analyzed.” AC Kenneth said.

According to him, venturing into data analytics will go a long way in promoting the economic status of the country, “and is in line with the Nigeria Customs Service’s topmost policies of collecting data in the area of revenue, enforcement, accounts, system auditing and PAAR ruling centre.” He added.

He said, “Therefore training our officers in the area of data management and analytics will surely help in boosting the economy of the country because Nigeria Customs Service helps in planning the economic policies for the Nigerian Government by issuing accurate statistics to the authorities.”

Addressing the participants virtually, the Director of Capacity Building World Customs Organization, Taeil Kang, welcomed and encouraged participants to promote and share information on Data Analytics technologies.

He emphasized his intentions to continue supporting members of the WCO whenever they deemed it necessary to hold capacity-building activities in the region.

Some of the participants who shared their opinion on the ongoing workshop expressed optimism that the capacity building will enhance capacity in data collection and analytics.

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Customs Corner

Customs Kickstarts 2-Day ICT/Modernization Retreat for Management Team

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Author: Muhammad Bashir.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, marked Friday, 1 March 2024, as a pivotal moment for his administration, heralding an era of digital transformation within the Service.

Addressing attendees at the 2-day NCS 2024 ICT—Modernization Management Retreat in Abuja, CGC Bashir Adewale reiterated his commitment to leveraging technology to streamline customs operations. He emphasized the importance of engaging stakeholders to ensure the seamless execution of this ambitious project.

“In 2024, we cannot afford to remain entrenched in outdated practices. Stakeholders are demanding a Customs Service that embraces technology to enhance efficiency and transparency.” CGC Adeniyi remarked.

Encouraging his Management Team, particularly in ICT, to champion the digitalization efforts, he urged them to harness internal resources to expedite the implementation of the electronic cargo tracking system.

He, however, emphasized that “It is imperative that we modernize every facet of the Customs Enforcement Ecosystem. We must also integrate technology to fortify our operations.”

Welcoming the CGC to the retreat, the Chairman of Trade Modernization Project Limited, Alhaji Saleh Ahmadu, lauded the CGC’s resolve, highlighting the pivotal role of trade in national development. He underscored that the modernization initiative would revolutionize the NCS’s operations, fostering a conducive environment for trade across Nigeria and the African continent.

Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs in charge of ICT/Modernisation, ACG Kikelomo Adeola, commended the CGC’s unwavering commitment to the project. She highlighted its significance in reshaping, digitizing, and modernizing the Service’s activities.

“Welcome to this landmark retreat, where we embark on a journey to recalibrate and modernize the Service, aligning it with international standards.” ACG Adeola stated.

The NCS 2024 ICT-Modernization Management Retreat sets the stage for a transformative era in the Nigeria Customs Service, signaling its readiness to embrace technological advancements in pursuit of operational excellence.

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Customs Corner

Customs Oyo/Osun Command Intercepts Fake Drugs, Others, Worth Over N1.8B

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…As Comptroller Ben Expresses Dedication to Protect Well-being of Citizens

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service, Oyo/Osun Area Command, has intercepted sacks of fake Pharmaceutical drugs worth over N1.8billion.

Customs Area Controller Comptroller Ben Oramalugo disclosed this to reporters during a press briefing at the Command headquarters on Thursday, February 29, 2024.

Comptroller Ben stated that the Commands anti-smuggling activities have been strategically positioned to ensure the Federal Government’s policy on border closure is totally enforced by preventing the importation of prohibited items harmful to the great citizens of Nigeria. He also expressed the effort to prevent the exportation of essential food resources for individual economic gains by some economic saboteurs.

“We have successfully intercepted and seized contraband goods, including items that pose threats to economic stability and lives of citizens in the country,” He added.

Highlights of the seizures include 53 sacks of fake Pharmaceutical drugs with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of ₦1,739,000,000.00, 1,309 pieces of used tyres with a DPV of ₦70,140,000.00.

Others are; 345 × 50kg bags of Foreign Parboiled Rice, 344 × 25 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 4 Wraps (4 Kilogram) of Indian Hemp, 45 Sacks, 8 Sacks (9 Bales) of Used Clothings and Shoes, 34 Cartons of Foreign Wine, and 40 Bottles (5 litres), 21 Bottles (1 litres) of Foreign Vegetable Oil, all with a Total DPV of N1,890,022,931.00.

The CAC stated that, despite the prevailing economic challenges, the Command demonstrated resilience and efficiency in revenue generation by collecting the sum of N5,664,295,751.15 in February 2024. When added to the sum of N6,824,954,338.96, already collected for January 2024, the cumulative sum of N12,489,250,090.11 was collected so far for the fiscal year of 2024.

Comptroller Ben reiterated that all Borders within the Commands Area of Responsibility are still closed due to the Federal Government policy on Border closure and as such, “Command Officers remain vigilant and dedicated to preventing the smuggling of items that could compromise the health and well-being of our citizens.”

He appreciated the efforts of all Traditional Rulers, Local Government Chairmen and Key Stakeholders in both Oyo and Osun States, who have continued to enlighten their people about the negative effect of smuggling on the economy.

The CAC expressed the Nigeria Customs Service’s unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability, and the nation’s overall well-being. “We are confident that, through collective efforts, we can overcome the challenges we face and contribute to a more secure and prosperous future for Nigeria.”

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Customs Corner

COWA Collaborates with Youths, Women to Combat Drug Abuse

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Author: Iruoghene Abra, Muhammad Bashir.

The National President of the Customs Officers’ Wives Association (COWA), Mrs. Kikelomo Adeniyi, has expressed readiness to partner with the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria as part of her plans to empower women through various ‘progressive’ programs aimed at improving their economic status.

Mrs. Kikelomo made this declaration during a meeting with members of the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Ibrahim Ibrahim, at the COWA National Secretariat on Thursday, 29 February 2024. She also emphasized her dedication to supporting women through educational initiatives.

In an address, Mrs. Kikelomo commended the organization’s executives for their tireless efforts in achieving the organization’s goals and objectives. She urged the young executives to continue their exemplary work in serving humanity.

Highlighting COWA’s activities, the President outlined initiatives such as providing support for women and children, empowering them with new skills and startup kits, and serving as the voice for the voiceless in society.

She emphasized that COWA stands as a pillar of support for wives and children during times of need, advocating for the rights of women who face similar challenges and discrimination in society.

Addressing the importance of mutual support, the COWA National President stressed the significance of women supporting each other to overcome obstacles and achieve their full potential.

She remarked, “The strength of a woman should not be measured by the challenges she faces but by her resilience in overcoming them.”

Continuing, she emphasized, “A healthy wife brings a wealthy life, as the well-being of women is crucial for the prosperity of households and communities.”

Mrs. Adeniyi highlighted the transformative power of education for women, stating, “When women are empowered, they contribute significantly to the economy, health, education, and all sectors of society, leading to positive change.”

She advocated for women to hold significant societal positions, citing their consistent ability to surpass expectations.

Mrs. Adeniyi reiterated COWA’s commitment to empowering women and children, expressing willingness to collaborate with the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria to achieve shared objectives.

In response, the National Coordinator of the National Youth for Women Empowerment and Education in Nigeria, Ambassador Ibrahim Ibrahim, briefed COWA on the organization’s activities, which include encouraging women to embrace education and advocating against child abuse and domestic violence.

He highlighted the organization’s focus on supporting widows and children, facilitating skill acquisition, and caring for the elderly, praising Mrs. Adeniyi’s leadership and integrity expressing confidence in her ability to lead COWA to greater heights.

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