…Moves to revitalize National Trade Facilitation Committee
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Doris Uzoka-Anite has urged the Nigeria Customs Service to focus more on trade facilitation function of the Service than it does in security and revenue collection in order to enhance economic growth and prosperity of the country.
Uzoka-Anite who made this plea while delivering a keynote address at the launching ceremony of the World Customs Organization, WCO assisted Time Release Study in Lagos on Thursday pointed out that when trade is facilitated, Nigeria’s trade volume would be enhanced, the country becomes more competitive and more revenue would be generated. She added that the Service could generate more revenue even without increasing levies or hampering legitimate trade.
Her words, “This is the only agency in Nigeria that is saddled with three critical functions: Security, revenue generation and trade facilitation. However, as your trade Minister, I implore you to double and redouble your efforts to focus on trade facilitation. This is because, when you facilitate trade, you are enhancing our trade volume and you are making our nation more competitive and then, you can generate even more revenue. And we can generate more revenue without increasing our levies or hampering any legitimate trade.”
“As you know, Nigeria has ratified its membership of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and it is important for us to take advantage of this to grow our economy. The AfCFTA, as the acronym is called, is actually in all countries of Africa and it is for all countries in Africa to compete among themselves and like the CG stood here telling us about how competitive we were in Boarke last night, I want us to also use the same spirit to understand that Nigeria is now in competition with the rest of Africa and you might even say the rest of the world to take advantage of available market in Africa.
“Let me just repeat, we know that there are about 1.3 billion people in the continent and that is actually the size of the market in Africa. So, the only way we can compete is for us to be more efficient and this is what this TRS and other initiatives that we are putting together are doing. We must ensure that we make the businesses more cost effective and that’s the best way to compete. When your goods and services coming out from Nigeria is getting to the market faster than the competitors, and it’s getting to the market at a cheaper rate, then you are competing and that’s what’s going to bring economic growth and prosperity to the rest of the businesses and of course, the country.
“So, we are very happy and delighted that this initiative is coming at an auspicious time, at the right time to make us more efficient to compete within Africa leveraging the AfCFTA that has already been signed and ratified. I must commend you all especially the Nigeria Customs men for risking your lives daily to protect our borders. The Nigerian borders are notoriously dangerous due to cross border criminalities ranging from smuggling, trafficking activities to the presence of terrorist organizations. Therefore, as you go out daily to secure our borders, please know that your country values you and appreciates all that you do for us”, she further stated.
The Minister, however, maintained that to reduce the occupational risks and hazard inherent in the job, Nigeria Customs should seek to become wholly automated, using satellite and drones to monitor the nation’s borders and to detect smugglers and terrorists without the need for human contact with these organizations.
She submitted that scanners and trackers could also be used effectively to monitor Nigeria’s trade value chain without the need for human intervention adding that this would also speed the process and enhance trade.
“With respect to the Time Release Study, permit me to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to experts and stakeholders within the trade value chain who have and still contribute their own quota to the development of the sector, particularly to those who have been dedicating their time and expertise, the WCO and other members of the committee since the commencement of this study. Your dedication and collaboration has been instrumental in shaping this important endeavor and we thank you.
“As we embark on this journey of shared growth, let’s seize the opportunity to join in an evolving global trade facilitation. Together, we can create a more efficient, transparent and predictable customs environment that fosters economic prosperity and sustainable development. Let’s step forward with courage and conviction, the future is ours to shape”, she said.
Mrs. Uzoka-Anite, thereafter, announced that the federal government through her Ministry would be revitalizing and relaunching the National Trade Facilitation Committee where the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Nigeria Customs alongside many other MDAs and the private sector would effectively plan and implement more successful trade facilitation reforms that would continually increase Nigeria’s trade volumes year on year.
Photo: Mrs. Doris Uzoka-Anite, Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment speaking during the launch of TRS in Lagos on Thursday.
Send your press invite, news, press releases/articles to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow us on Twitter @PrimetimeRepor1 and on Facebook on facebook.com/primetimereporters or call the editor on 07030661526