Customs incorporates EFCC, ICPC, Shippers’ Council in auction exercise

The Zonal Coordinator for Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service, Assistant Comptroller-General Eporwei Edike, said on Friday that the service had included other government agencies in its auction exercise.
Edike stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos as maritime activities closed on Friday.
The zonal coordinator said that the service took the measure to reform the auction exercise and make it more transparent.

He said the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Colonel Hameed Ali, had established a committee that would oversee the auction processes.
He said: “The auction operation will no longer be the affairs of Operation and Enforcement unit of the service alone because the Customs boss had included many regulatory agencies in the exercise.

“Those agencies include: the National Assembly, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Nigerian Ports Authority.

“Also included are the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Importers’ Association and so on.”
In the week under review, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, urged trade partners to work together globally to grow the economies of nations.
Bello made the plea during a visit to the Council’s Headquarters in Lagos by the World Bank team on Support Mission to Nigeria on implementation of World Trade Organisation.
NAN reports that the team was at the council to facilitate implementation of Trade Agreement.

“Facilitation is very important and no country can trade alone without the support of others,” NAN quoted him as saying.
He added: “We know that the issue of trade facilitation has taken the front burner at global level.

“Nigeria is working seriously to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement as this is imperative for boosting the nation’s competitiveness and successfully integrating it into the regional and global trading systems.

“This is to enhance our economic growth and development.”
Bello said the NSC as the ports economic regulator had been streamlining trade through its various activities including the establishment of Inland Container Depots and Container Freight Stations.

In his speech, the Ambassador of Nigeria to World Trade Organisation in Geneva, Ademola Adejumo, expressed dismay over the ranking of Nigeria globally in the cost of doing business.
Adejumo, however, said the mission would do its best in placing Nigeria in the right position to make the country “an investment haven”.
He said the group would appreciate it if maximum support could be given to it in accomplishing its mission.

Also speaking, the Head of the delegation, Manuel Henriques, commended the NSC for the support it had been receiving as members of the trade facilitation mission.
According to Henriques, the importance of TFA could not be over-emphasised in the trade facilitation.

Also during the week, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria agreed to inaugurate a team to harmonise areas of conflict in a current draft Memorandum of Understanding.
The Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Wale Adeniyi, stated this in a statement, a copy of which was made available to NAN in Lagos.

According to Adeniyi, as part of his continuous engagement with stakeholders, Ali rounded up a week-long working visit to Lagos and other operational areas in the South West on Friday.

The statement added: “During the visit, the comptroller-general hosted members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to a forum where issues of mutual concerns were addressed.

“On the front burner of the forum was the concern expressed by the participants over the militating impact of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy, banning some items from accessing its Forex allocation.

“The comptroller-general noted that the policy had created a revenue shortfall to the tune of N230 billion in the last quarter of 2015.
“He (Ali) informed the forum that the request for a review had been tabled before the Vice-President.
“At the end of the forum, the two sides acknowledged the growing cordial relationship existing between the Customs and the association and expressed commitment to sustain the tempo.

“At the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal, the comptroller-general announced Customs intention to optimise the use of the facilities.

“He (comptroller-general) disclosed that the Customs management is considering the remodelling of the facility as a terminal designated to handle exports.

“Under the arrangement, containers of export will be trucked to the terminal from where they will be moved in barges to the main ports of Apapa and Tin-Can Island.”