In a significant move towards fostering enhanced trade facilitation throughout the African continent, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has pledged a strategic partnership with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. The announcement came during a meeting at the Customs Corporate Headquarters in Abuja, where CGC Adeniyi hosted members of AfCFTA on Monday, January 8, 2024.
Acknowledging the challenges of low trade volume within Africa, CGC Adeniyi emphasized the imperative of striking a balance between trade facilitation and revenue. He expressed concern over Africa’s relatively modest share of global trade, hovering around 3–4 percent, and highlighted the stagnation of the continent’s trade system at 14–15 percent over the past three to four years.
“We are not unmindful of the benefits that trade presents—economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation—because customs trade plays a role in fostering regional and international bonds,” stated CGC Adeniyi, reflecting on the potential positive impact of collaborative efforts.
Considering the inception of AfCFTA over a decade ago, the Customs’ Boss deemed the Guide Trade Initiative crucial for countries seeking to expand their trade markets. He stressed the necessity for cooperation in verifying the origin of goods at the port, a responsibility designated to the NCS.
Touching on the ambitious projections, CGC Adeniyi projected a 2 percent increase that could lift over 1 million people out of poverty and contribute significantly to the GDP with an estimated N450 billion. He disclosed plans for a time-release study in collaboration with other government agencies, further underscoring the commitment to trade enhancement.
In his response, Secretary-General Wamkele Mene of AfCFTA congratulated CGC Adeniyi on his appointment and conveyed eagerness to collaborate on finding solutions to trade challenges in Africa. Stressing the importance of cooperation between AfCFTA and NCS, Mene highlighted the commitment to jointly enhance trade facilitation not only in Nigeria but across the entire African continent.
The collaboration aims to streamline customs procedures, reduce trade barriers, and boost efficiency in cross-border trade. This partnership signifies a significant step towards realizing the objectives of AfCFTA in promoting intra-African trade and economic integration. The visit of the Secretary-General marks a milestone in ongoing efforts to harness the economic potential of the African continent through improved trade practices.