African Directors General of Customs have been urged to improve customs policy to enhance intra and inter Africa trade.
This was the position of stakeholders at the 1st extra ordinary meeting of African Union sub-committee of Directors General of Customs in Abuja, Nigeria.
The meeting themed “Entering into force of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement: Implication for African Customs Administrations.’‘
The meeting is aimed at fine-tuning the Trade facilitation agreement to create common ground for Africa in the global market.
In his welcome address the Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali said there is need to develop policies that would enhance more harmonized and improved border management.
“It’s our expectation that this meeting will bring all the African Union Customs administrations together to articulate a common agenda and speak in unison during the World Customs Organisation’s annual council meeting coming up in July 2017,” He said
On her part, the representative of the AU Commission, Mrs. Treasure Mazanga urged the committee to compliment the commission’s efforts to improve movement of goods and services in the region.
Also speaking the Sec. Gen of the WCO Mr. Kunio Mikuriya emphasized the need for an increased domestic revenue mobilization for the continent.
He also lauded the initiators of the meeting and Nigeria’s effort at border security noting that improved trade facilitation is only achievable with enhanced security at the borders.
Declaring the meeting opens the Nigerian Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said African Custom Officers must block the free flow of money from Africa due to poor customs policies.
While expressing concerns over illicit financial flows, the Minister called on the participants to deliberate towards boosting border security to improve revenue collection, and enhance trade facilitation.
“Customs activities at the borders can make or break the economy. It is therefore a challenge to you to always employ interventions that will expedite the movement of trade goods across border in a simplified and predictable manner to enhance trade facilitation and promote economic growth on African continent,’’ She said
“I want to remind the DGs that it will be appropriate for African Union Commission (AUC) to take on board the issue of 0.2 per cent import levy and come out with clear guidelines for implementation by all member states as a permanent source of funding for activities of the AUC,’’
At the end of the meeting the committee is expected to make recommendation on how the WTO’s TFA can be used to promote economic growth and development of Africa.