The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), retired Col. Hameed Ali, said that the service would key into national single window system before the end of 2017 to enhance capacity building.
Ali told newsmen at a meeting of African Union (AU) Sub-Committee of Directors-General of Customs on Tuesday in Abuja, that since he assumed office, the service had been undergoing restructuring, with customs automation reaching 75 per cent completion.
“Before the year ends, we will key to the national single window system. We are in the motion of actualising our staff college.
“In the next three months, we will be commissioning our college in terms of training our officers. We have enhanced our enforcement capacity from three levels to four.
“We realised that smuggling is one of the banes of our job and so we need to enforce, which made us to create the fourth layer, which is the CGC Compliance Team; this has helped to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum,’’ he said.
Ali announced that customs scanners would soon be available at the ports and airports to reduce time of inspection.
He said that Customs had started pilotisation, which means that every item put into a container must be pilotised, as it makes it easier for examination.
According to him, Customs has reduced its hours of inspection and physical examination, adding that “we have also reduced paper processing from 17 to 10.
“We have reduced the stages of processing from 17 to 14 and we are doing these to ease the process of doing business.
“Those who are into import and export will tell you that things are beginning to change at the airports and at the seaports.
“Very soon, we will get our scanners in the ports and airports to reduce the time of inspection.
“ By then we will only require 100 per cent examination on containers that we tag to have problem; all others that have no problem will go through the scanner and cleared within 24 hours,’’ he added.
On border security, Ali said that Nigeria Customs had proposed a meeting on trade facilitation between Cameroon, Niger, Chad, Benin Republic, Togo and Central African Republic.
“After this meeting, we will be meeting with our six neighbours. It is an idea that we proposed and was adopted at the regional, continental and WCO levels.
“We want to see if between us, we can create a security corridor to enhance the facilitation of trade,’’ Ali explained.
On AU DGs of Customs meeting, Ali said that the meeting was a platform that brought the African continent together to form a formidable front for customs administrations to pursue African agenda in the global trade, economic development and security.
He said that the meeting of all the DGs of Customs in Nigeria would not have come at a better time when the country had just released new guidelines on the ease of doing business.
Ali noted that this would make business processes simpler and faster and can improve the economic fortunes of the country. (NAN)