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Customs Corner

Customs Collaborates DG TAXUD EU For Efficient Export Monitoring, Trade Facilitation

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Author: Abra Iruoghene.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NC) has collaborated with the Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) of the European Union (EU) for efficient export monitoring and trade facilitation.

During a meeting that took place at the Corporate Headquarters of NCS on February 27, 2024, the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, announced that the service is collaborating with DG TAXUD for efficiency in Export Monitoring and documentation.

With the Nigeria Customs Service as the competent authority for rules of origin, the Comptroller General assured that the Service will do all it can to facilitate the process, adding that peace will prevail if trade is permitted to flourish.

Notwithstanding, the CG acknowledged the initiative as a welcome idea working towards economic union by bringing the two economic blocks together. He said the initiative of the Registered Exporters is a welcome development.

CGC requested a framework between Customs and DG TAXUD that can be used to verify and validate export commodities. He stated the service is interested in a digital platform that will enhance the validation of documents.

According to the Comptroller General, “As part of our outreach program, we are also working with other agencies of the Nigerian government so that we maximize these opportunities. In the past, we’ve had goods from Nigeria returned because of quality, storage, and all of that”.

He said, “We’ve moved to establish a ‘one-stop-shop’ export seat for export documentation so that it will help us reduce the time taken for Nigerian exporters to get their goods out of our port. Earlier this month, we launched the Time Release Studies, which we are targeting towards importing of goods and how much it takes for businessmen to clear their goods in the port”.

Still speaking, he said, “We are also going to launch a similar exercise to have a scientific measure of how long and how much it costs our businessmen to export their products. The most important part is to identify if there are bureaucratic modules, procedures, or laws that are creating delays so that people can get their things off our port with speed”.

The CGC said, “My intention for us is to have a system that is better, faster, and easier for us to confirm your request within a very short period. I want us to talk about exportation like we all talk about importation”.

Also speaking, Gary Wilkinson, who works in the Rules of Origin in the Directorate-General Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) in the EU, said the tariff discount for exported products is 4 percent, so when Nigerian products are exported, they get a discount.

He emphasized that as part of the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) scheme, they occasionally travel to developing countries to ensure that products sent to the European Union are indeed of Nigerian origin.

He stated that specific rules have been put in place to ascertain the origin of products under the GSP scheme. He said all their trade agreements are based on cooperation between the two Customs departments.

Customs Corner

Nigeria Customs Service Bolsters Collaboration with Benin Republic Counterpart

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Nigeria Customs Service Bolsters Collaboration with Benin Republic Counterpart

By Ruth Akata

In an effort to strengthen the longstanding partnership between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and its counterpart in the Republic of Benin, a high-powered delegation led by the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, embarked on a crucial mission to meet with the Director-General of the Customs Administration of Benin Republic on Thursday, 11 April, 2024.

The primary focus of the meeting, as outlined by the CGC, was to deliberate on strategies aimed at amplifying trade activities between the two nations and ensuring the seamless implementation of recommendations previously discussed during their rendezvous in Cotonou.

Highlighting the significance of the collaboration, the CGC underscored, “We are cognizant of the established framework for cooperation between our respective customs administrations. This framework was established at a higher level by the authorities of the heads of State, President Patrice Talon of Benin and His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria, both expressing a desire to work together. It is upon this foundation that the customs of both countries are united in their efforts.”

Welcoming the delegation with open arms, Mrs Adidjatou Hassan Zanouvi, the Director-General of Benin Customs Administration, reiterated their steadfast commitment to executing the mutually agreed-upon measures, emphasising the importance of thorough monitoring to ensure effective implementation.

The collaborative endeavours between the Nigeria Customs Service and the Benin Republic Customs Administration, according to her, serve as a testament to their shared commitment to facilitating seamless trade operations and ensuring the efficient management of cross-border activities for the mutual benefit of both nations.

In the meantime, during the visit, the CGC seized the opportunity to inspect ongoing projects within the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Area Command. Accompanied by the Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Timi Bomodi, the CGC meticulously assessed the progress of the projects and received assurances of diligent oversight from the responsible authorities.

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Customs Corner

PTML Customs Command Generates N66.9b, Targets Two-Hour Clearance Time for Vehicles

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Author: Gift Wada.

The Port Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has collected N66,920,181,586.30 as total revenue for the first quarter of 2024, which is N22,198,965,809.55 higher than N44,721,215,776.75 collected between January and March 2023, representing 49.6 percent increase.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the command, Comptroller Saidu Yusuf, in a press statement signed by the Command’s Spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Customs Muhammad Yakubu, on 13 April 2024, described the increase in revenue collection as a laudable feat.

Comptroller Yusuf, while commending the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, MFR, for initiating strategies to achieve faster cargo clearance, assured that PTML Command under his watch aims to surpass its record of three-hour cargo clearance for compliant traders.

“The launching of time release study (TRS), which is ongoing, and other deliberate efforts by the Comptroller General have contributed to expanding terminal space and promoting ease of doing business in PTML.

“The PTML command has the potential to achieve two-hour cargo clearance and surpass its existing three hours records if port users compliance level is improved,” he said.

Comptroller Yusuf, who described PTML as one of the safest and most secure environments for Roll On Roll Off (RoRo) and general cargoes, also advised importers and their agents to take advantage of the incentives available for compliant traders such as fast track, advance ruling and possible migration to the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.

He reminded port users in PTML of the robust and time-conscious dispute resolution mechanism, which has contributed immensely to the revenue collection, trade facilitation, and anti-smuggling functions of the command.

While commending the various government and private sector stakeholders for their cooperation and support towards the realisation of the government’s goal for revenue collection and prevention of unlawful activities, Comptroller
Yusuf expressed optimism that the command will surpass its annual target for the year.

He described the importation of vehicles meant for Nigerian roads into neighbouring countries with the intent to smuggle them through unapproved roads into Nigeria as unpatriotic and an act of economic sabotage as the command has the capacity for seamless and efficient processing of such automobile cargoes.

For the second quarter and first half of the year, the CAC enjoined command officers to maximally deploy available technology and rededicate themselves to the job to achieve more.

He reminded port users that there is increased anti-smuggling vigilance to uncover concealment such as under declaration and smuggling of prohibited items. The CAC added that any discovered infraction will fully evoke the Nigeria Customs Service Act (NCSA) 2023, where there are spelt-out penalties.

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Customs Corner

Comptroller Jaiyeoba Commends Apapa Scanning Officers for Non-Compromise

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Author: Ibe Wada.

The Customs Area Controller (CAC) of Apapa Area Command, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba, has commended Officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) for their invaluable contributions to the overall success of the Command.

Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who paid an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork in sustaining the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.

In a press statement issued on Tuesday, 9 April 2024, by the Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abubakar Usman, the CAC thanked Deputy Comptroller of Customs Salamatu Atuluku, the Scanner Manager of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices.

According to him, no business person made to part with money will be happy with Officers who refuse to compromise the ethics of their jobs.

Addressing the officers, he said, “The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you, but I have seen your work, and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen. You are doing very well.”

He urged the Officers to remain steadfast in their commitment to integrity, emphasising that uncompromising adherence to their duties would ensure their credibility before the public and their superiors.

“For those of you doing intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is nobody who part with money that will be happy with you. They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me, and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person”. He added.

The CAC acknowledged the challenges faced by Officers issuing demand notices, highlighting the inevitability of dissatisfaction from individuals required to pay accurate duties to the government.

He reminded the unit not to be swayed by such complaints but to focus on upholding the integrity of their work.

Comptroller Jaiyeoba encouraged the officers to remain resilient, noting that their commitment to excellence would lead to further responsibilities and recognition.

“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy. It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work.” He concluded.

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