The World Customs Organisation(WCO), on 16th and 17th, December 2021, successfully held its 7th series of webinars aimed at improving Customs administrations’ awareness of counterfeit COVID-19-related goods.
This latest series of webinars were designed to provide Customs with knowledge of the essential characteristics and specifications of Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) COVID-19 medicines.
This series of webinars, conducted in five languages, brought together some 170 Customs officials from 42 countries in the WCO’s six regions: Americas and the Caribbean; Asia/Pacific; Europe; East and Southern Africa; North of Africa, Near and the Middle East; and West and Central Africa.
During the opening ceremony, the WCO Secretariat highlighted the fact that Customs constituted the first line of defence at Members’ borders by seizing counterfeit goods and thus protecting citizens’ health and safety.
Ms. Karen Bresard, Executive Director, Regional Security – EMEA – at MSD, said that MSD would enhance cooperation with Customs by providing Customs officers with information on distribution channels for new medicines.
Mr. Hamaguchi, Director for International Technical Cooperation of the Customs and Tariff Bureau – Ministry of Finance of Japan, indicated that Japan Customs would contribute financial and human resources in support of the WCO’s COVID-19-related initiatives.
The participants asked a lot of questions during each of the webinars and actively exchanged views in order to gain an understanding of the new medicines presented by MSD.
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Customs, UN agency collaborate to fight smuggling
“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”
He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.
The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.
The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.
He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.
He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.
On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”
According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.
He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.
UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.
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