The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, has lamented the low trade volume in Africa and the stagnant growth in the continent’s trade.
Adeniyi was worried that the African trade system had not grown beyond 14 to 15 per cent in the last four years.
The CGC made this known when he received members of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the Customs Corporate Headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
He said the NCS fully understands the importance of balancing trade facilitation and revenue while pointing out that Africa’s share in global trade is between three and four per cent.
Adeniyi expressed readiness to partner the AfCFTA Secretariat to enhance trade facilitation in Africa.
“We are not unmindful of the benefits that trade presents such as economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation because Customs trade plays a role in fostering regional and international bonds,” he said.
He said AfCFTA started over 10 years ago with positive projections many international organisations have given about the Continental Free Trade Area.
The Customs boss described the Guide Trade Initiative as ‘important for the administration of countries’ focusing on ways to grow their trade market.
He noted that there is a need for collaboration in the verification of goods origin at the port as NCS has been designated the appropriate authority and also collaborates with other government agencies.
Adeniyi said the NCS is projecting a two per cent increase in the shower of ejecting over one million people out of poverty and more importantly, N450 billion gross domestic product (GDP).
Speaking further, the CGC said his administration has taken several measures aimed at generally improving trade facilitation in Nigeria, adding that there are plans for the implementation of a time-release study in the first quarter of this year working with other agencies of government.
On the importance of data analytics, the CGC said everyone must invest in data analytics and bring all their officers up to speed on the basic elements or requirements for data analysis.
“Last December, we made this the subject of our Comptroller General’s conference — it was a very big occasion that attracted all our stakeholders, and they were all in agreement with us that we need to do a bit more in data analysis,” he stated.
Secretary-General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, congratulated Adeniyi on his appointment as Customs chief, expressing excitement to proffer solutions to the issues affecting trade in Africa.
He highlighted the importance of cooperation between AfCFTA and the NCS in tackling trade impediments.
Mene conveyed his excitement about jointly finding solutions to the issues affecting trade in Nigeria while emphasising that AfCFTA is committed to collaborating with the NCS to enhance trade facilitation not only in Nigeria but across the African continent.
Speaking about the potential impact of their collaboration, Mene expressed optimism that the synergy between AfCFTA and NCS would significantly improve trade and revenue generation in various African countries, which include but are not limited to Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Kenya
He underscored the strategic role that effective trade facilitation plays in fostering economic growth and development across the region.
“AfCFTA, established to promote intra-African trade and economic integration, sees its partnership with NCS as a crucial step towards realising its objectives. The collaboration aims to streamline customs procedures, reduce trade barriers, and enhance the efficiency of cross-border trade,” Mene stated.