The Directorate of Customs Union and Taxation of the ECOWAS Commission Thursday converged on Accra, Ghana for its 6th meeting of Heads of Customs of ECOWAS member states to discuss the ECOWAS community levy and consolidate the ECOWAS customs union.
The main objective of the meeting was to examine and validate some community legislations that are meant to improve the collection and management of Community levy as well as secure revenue collection, enhance the fluidity of intra-community trade and strengthen the ECOWAS Customs union.
The discussion of the regional Customs egg heads centred on the Draft Supplementary Act laying down the conditions and modalities of application, monitoring and management of the Community levy, Draft Supplementary Act on ECOWAS Community Transit, Draft Regulation relating to the modalities for the functioning of the ECOWAS community transit guarantee mechanism, Draft Regulation relating to the additional modalities for the application and management of decisions, including advance rulings, relating to the implementation of Community Customs regulations, Draft Regulation relating to the determination of Community regime for customs duty reliefs in the ECOWAS Region and Draft Regulation amending regulation C/REG.18/12/16 of 18 December 2016 defining the list of categories of goods contained in the ECOWAS Tariff and Statistical Nomenclature as well as the adoption of the 2022 amendments of the Harmonized System nomenclature.
Others are Draft Regulation on the procedures for the recognition and certification of the origin of products from ECOWAS member states, Draft Regulation on the determination of the components of ex-factory price and the value of non-originating materials.
Col. Kwadwo Damoah (rtd), Commissioner,Ghana Customs, who chaired the meeting, welcomed all participants to Accra on behalf of the President of Ghana and Chair of ECOWAS Authority, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He acknowledged with great delight, the high turnout of delegates despite the challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He reemphasised the importance of tariffs in revenue mobilisation within the subregion as well as the obligation for Member States to go along with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in implementation of the best practices in order to deliver world-class services to clients.
Col Damoah said the two top issues expected in the report which need urgent attention are the Community Levy and the Transit of goods and services across ECOWAS borders for trade facilitation .
“I thank you sincerely for your unwavering support in the implementation of the Protocol on the Community Levy.
” The Community Levy has significantly improved the revenue profile of ECOWAS and it contributes about 80% of the Community finances.
“This would not have been possible without your cooperation and support. We are, therefore, grateful”
“This meeting is historic in view of the number and relevance of the regulations presented for your consideration.
“These instruments are critical for the promotion of economic integration and development of our sub-region.
“They are the pillars upon which a solid economic union would be built. This cannot be achieved without your inputs.
“We, therefore, welcome your usual insights and recommendations which would help us to do better” she declared.
ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Mr. Konzi Tei, explained that the 6th meeting was held in a context marked by the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic impacts which he said has slowed down world trade and the logistics chain of supplying goods to States.
He however praised the Customs Administrations of member-states for their resilience and effective mobilisation of public resources for their various Governments and ECOWAS through funds collection for the Community Levy.
“Furthermore, I would like to inform you that the process of the interconnection of customs administrations is continuing despite the COVID- 19 pandemic which has impacted and changed the world order.
With the operationalization of the Interconnected System for the Management of Goods in Transit (SIGMAT), he noted that seven States are already interconnected.
The Customs ECOWAS Commissioner disclosed that training on the functional specialties of SIGMAT have been organised for Ghana, Nigeria and The Gambia.
“The mobile version, as well as the rail version of SIGMAT, are in the process of being operationalised. Tests have already been carried out” he said.
The various supplementary Acts and regulations as recommended and validated from the meeting were presented to the ECOWAS Ministers of Finance on Friday who will review and approve them for submission to the Council of Ministers in December 2021.
As Customs elevates 357 junior officers, Adeniyi charges new graduates to trigger change through continuous learning
Maiwada, Customs’ chief spokesman, receives diadem over his public relations prowess
The Eyewitness Reporter
The National Public Relations of the Nigeria Customs Service, Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Aliyu Maiwada, has been honored with the prestigious ‘Spokesperson of the Year’ Award by Spokesperson’s Digest, a division of Image Merchant Public Relations.
The event, held in Abuja and attended by distinguished personalities, showcased Maiwada’s exceptional public relations contributions and unwavering commitment to the Nigeria Customs Service.
In an exclusive post-award speech, Maiwada shared insights into the driving forces behind his success.
“This accolade not only acknowledges my dedication but also inspires me to elevate my contributions further.
” My motivation comes from a deep passion for my work and the unwavering support of my dedicated team,” he stated emphatically.
Known for his dynamic leadership style, Maiwada attributed the success to the collaborative efforts of his staff.
He added, “Today’s recognition is a testament to the collective efforts of my team, serving as a motivating force to strive for excellence.”
Beyond the immediate team, Maiwada expressed gratitude for the motivational guidance he receives from the Comptroller General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi and his Management Team.
“He highlighted his belief in extracting the best from his work, adding, “I believe in getting the best out of my work, and this passion, combined with the support of my team and the guidance from my elders, has been the driving force behind my success.”
The National PRO, recognized not just for his professional acumen but also for his commitment to mentorship, urged organizers to continue appreciating the dedication and enthusiasm of media practitioners and agencies.
He emphasized the need to sustain a culture of recognition for those making significant contributions in their respective fields.
In his closing remarks, Maiwada extended heartfelt appreciation to the Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs Headquarters Adeogun Alajogun, who represented the CGC at the event for his unwavering support, acknowledging his pivotal role in his accomplishments as the direct supervisor of the Nigeria Customs Service Public Relations Unit.
The ceremony not only celebrated an individual’s achievement but also highlighted the collaborative spirit and dedication within the Nigeria Customs Service, reinforcing their commitment to excellence in public relations.
Customs promises to mitigate impact of increase in duty exchange rate through trade facilitation
The latest duty exchange rate has since been reflected on the Customs portal.
Before the latest increase, the exchange rate for customs duty in June was N420 per dollar before it was jerked up to N775 per dollar in July.
Shortly after that, it jumped to N778 per dollar before the latest increase to N951.941 per dollar.
However, the customs has explained that it would ensure that there is a minimum delay in the customs process in order to ensure customs agents take delivery of their cargo without incurring demurrage.
Explaining the position of the customs on the increase yesterday, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, the Tin Can Customs Area controller, said there was little the customs could do over the fiscal and monetary policies which he said are within the purview of the federal government while the customs merely implements them.
Nnadi, however, promised that the customs, especially his command, Tin Can Island Port, would try to optimise its service delivery by facilitating trade to minimize the anticipated delays and resultant demurrage in order to mitigate the effects of the sudden increase.
“We are all affected, including the customs officers, by the increase.
“There is no separate supermarket where they sell customs bread”
” We as Nigeria Customs officers, just like other Nigerians, woke up this morning( Yesterday, December 7th) to find out that the exchange rate, which is the yardstick for the collection of customs duty, has been jerked up.
” Before June/ July, it was 420 per dollar, by July, it jumped to N775 to dollars, shortly after, it jumped to N778 to a dollar and this morning (yesterday, December 7th), it was increased to N951.941per dollar.
” We understand the implication of this on trade, bearing in mind letters of credit have been opened, contracts have been signed, supplies have been made, and people have negotiated business transactions based on the previous exchange rate.
” And we recognize the import of this exchange rate on trade.
” We recognize what the Nigeria business community is going through but there is little we can do as customs service about the fiscal and monetary policies.
” Our role is to implement them, we do not make these policies and we align ourselves with government decisions.
” Every decision taken by government is for the collective interest of the nation and we expect that we must all abide by it.
” As Customs, what we can do to mitigate the impact of what the trading public is going to go through in the next few days because of the increase in the exchange rate is to optimise our service delivery where there are expected delays in customs process to make up for this sudden increase.
“We will try to facilitate trade so that whatever little money you would have paid on demurrage, you can now use it to make up for this sudden increase and that is what I can manage.
“We do this because if the agents go back to their importers and ask them to raise additional funds to augment the one they have paid because of the sudden increase, the importers may find it difficult to raise the money and there will be delay and the attendant demurrage.
” So what we can do as customs service, is to minimize these expected delays through facilitation of trade.
” The Nigeria Customs Service cannot manage the other aspect of price increase because that is the function of federal government directive” Comptroller Nnadi explained in a very comprehensive manner to exonerate the customs service from these sudden increases in the exchange rates.
He however believed that most of the trade activities in Nigeria are being heavily subsidized by the government which makes citizens of the neighbouring countries cross the borders to Nigeria to buy goods in Nigeria.
” But I am by no means justifying the incessant and sudden increments in tariff.
” But Nigerians must be patriotic enough to obey government policies when they are issued because every government policy is issued in the best interest of the people” the Customs chief sermonises.
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