The Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs; Bashir Adewale Adeniyi has assured that the much-expected National Single Window will come on stream in 2024.
He explained that this strategic move aims to streamline customs operations, promising increased efficiency and a more synchronized approach to managing import and export processes.
The Customs boss gave the assurance in an almost 16-minute interaction which was posted on the Service’s Facebook page last weekend.
In an exclusive one-on-one session, he outlined a vision focused on consolidation, consultation, and technology initiatives to address complex challenges.
Adeniyi shed light on key priorities, including aligning customs operations with the goals of the new administration led by President Ahmed Tinubu. He highlighted the administration’s emphasis on renewed hope, economic prosperity, and the need for policy alignment.
According to him, a pivotal aspect of this alignment is the introduction of the single window technology, aimed at enhancing port competitiveness and efficiency. He confirmed that the Minister of Finance; Mr Wale Edun is spearheading the initiative, even as he called for collaboration from all stakeholders.
The Customs boss also expressed a commitment to addressing issues of career progression and motivation among officers. He emphasized the use of technology to leapfrog revenue generation and enhance enforcement efficiency.
“The vision for the Customs Administration has been enunciated a couple of times. I believe that we need to stay very close and engaged with our stakeholders. I believe that we can use a number of initiatives, particularly technology initiatives, to address very complex and massive issues confronting customs administrations. And I also believe that we are not starting from ground zero. There are a number of other reforms and initiatives on ground which we need to consolidate upon. So it will be consolidation and of course, using technology initiatives to address issues.
Speaking further, he explained that, “the first would be for us to align what we want to do in Customs with the thinking of the new administration. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu came under the mantra of Renewed Hope, hinting at rebuilding the economy, giving hope to Nigerians, economic prosperity are some of the issues before us in this sector”.
Speaking specifically to port operations, the Customs CG this will include the issue of port competitiveness, the issue of port efficiency. And the policy advisory document enunciated by the administration was very, very clear on some of the directions in which the government wanted to go. So we’re happy to align to some of this”.
According to him, implementing the Single Window is very strategic to achieving these targets. “Very key amongst this is the introduction of the single window technology to drive operations in the port and the Minister of Finance has been very, very clear on this particular initiative to take charge, to take control of this initiative, to deploy and install a single window for clearance of goods in the ports and all stakeholders, including customs, are expected to sign up and follow the needs provided by the minister in this particular category”, Adeniyi stressed..
Speaking on the role of customs beyond revenue generation, Adeniyi stated that the global trend of customs administrations is shifting focus to trade facilitation, security, and development. He highlighted the significance of initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in creating a prosperous market for Africa.
Regarding recent reforms and their impact on customs operations, Adeniyi clarified that customs follows the rates prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and implements fiscal policies directed by the federal government. He emphasized the obligation to communicate these policies effectively to the public.
The CG of Customs detailed a comprehensive approach, including change management programmes, sensitization, and pilot tests, just as he underscored the importance of system compatibility with financial institutions, customs agents, and other government agencies.
Speaking on officers’ welfare, Adeniyi outlined initiatives such as capacity-building programmes, timely payment of allowances, and career development. He expressed the need for a salary review and additional considerations for exit packages, aiming to motivate officers in achieving the 2024 revenue target of N5.1 trillion.
Anticipating legislative support, Adeniyi highlighted provisions in the Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023, emphasizing proactive efforts, including the use of authorized economic operators and advanced ruling systems.