• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Customs unveils authorised economic operators programme to boost trade

Customs launches advance ruling system to reduce costs, expedite clearance processes

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

Adewale Adeniyi, the comptroller-general of Customs (CGC), speaking during a stakeholders meeting in Abuja, said the programme would foster collaboration between the Nigeria Customs Service, other government agencies and experts to boost AEO programmes.

The CGC underscored the determination needed to work together and ensure that the narrative is changed about the ease of doing business in and around Nigerian ports.

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

“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 bit friendlier,” he said.

He recalled that the NCS in February 2024 launched a Time Release Study (TRS) as another measure to optimise the trading experience within Nigeria.

Assuring the stakeholders of Customs’ commitment to successfully run the pilot AEO programme, the CGC said, “We are taking the steps with you with the implementation of the Authorised Economic Operator program, which hopefully will start from April 15, 2024.”

He explained that the objectives of the pilot scheme were to evaluate the visibility and effectiveness of the AEO programme within the Nigeria Customs Service and to solicit feedback from all key stakeholders.

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

He said the service would be committed to fostering transparency, inclusivity and collaboration while ensuring that the programme’s designs and execution align seamlessly with international standards.