Customs-Business Dialogue Session in Nigeria

09 December 2011

Customs-Business Dialogue Session in Nigeria

Lagos, 9 December 2011

Report

Following the meeting of the WCO Policy Commission in Abuja, the Secretary General of the WCO Kunio Mikuriya attended a Customs-Business Dialogue Session in Lagos, the largest city in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Secretary General began by paying a courtesy visit to His Royal Majesty Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Babatunde Osuolale Aremu Akiolu I, the traditional sovereign of Lagos at his Palace and thanked him for his participation in the opening of the Nigeria Customs Staff College/WCO Regional Training Center in Abuja the previous day. The traditional ruler, together with his Chiefs, blessed the Customs community and underlined the importance of sincerity and honesty that all people needed to embrace in the performance of their professional duties.

After visiting the busy and congested Port of Apapa, the Secretary General attended the Customs-Business Dialogue Session. Business representatives expressed their appreciation for recent progress made by the Nigeria Customs Service and indicated their support for continued improvement through capacity building for both Customs officers and business. They suggested greater trade facilitation to trusted traders, enhanced coordination with other government agencies in the area of security, and shortening of time required for clearance. In response, Nigerian Customs explained their recent initiatives and the importance of improved compliance from business.

The Secretary General concluded the session by stressing the usefulness of sharing knowledge for better understanding between Customs and business and for finding solutions through evidence-based research such as the WCO Time Release Study and the adoption of Customs global standards, such as the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention, as these measures would ensure greater connectivity at borders and improve the investment climate.

The visit to Lagos concluded a very successful week in Nigeria. Before departure, the Secretary General thanked the Nigeria Customs Service for their excellent organization and commitment.