Comptroller Muhammad Abubakar Umar has emphasised the importance of Inland Dry Ports as pivotal hubs for regional development.
He said this recently, during a sensitization programme held at the Funtua Inland Dry Project site in Katsina State.
Umar, who delivered a paper on the theme: “Stakeholders Sensitization Programme/Presentation of Operational Manual For Inland Dry Port in Nigeria”, also, stated the roles of the Nigeria Customs Service at Inland Dry Ports as well as the significant steps the Service is taking to facilitate trade in the country.
According to him, the Funtua Inland Dry Ports, when operated efficiently, will unlock the economic potential of Nigeria and enable seamless trade with landlocked neighbouring countries such as Niger and Chad Republic.
The ports will also grant importers and exporters from Nigeria’s hinterland, particularly the Northwest region, access to shipping and port services without the need to be physically present at seaports.
Furthermore, they will enable the nation to harness the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and promote economic integration while curbing smuggling activities within the region.
“The Nigeria Customs Service, being a pivotal player in our nation’s economy with the primary responsibility of facilitating trade, has implemented numerous processes and procedures, including fiscal policy adjustments, rules of origin and modernization initiatives, aimed at simplifying trade procedures. We are fully committed to providing top-notch service to all our dry ports and stakeholders within the region.
“Let’s delve into the critical role of Customs in the operation of dry ports. Customs officers are entrusted with a range of responsibilities, including:
Processing customs declarations, inspecting goods, assessing customs duties and taxes, collecting customs revenue, enforcing customs laws and regulations and ensuring security.” Umar highlighted.
He stated that Customs officers also collaborate closely with other stakeholders and sister agencies like the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to combat smuggling, uphold standards, and combat illegal activities at dry ports.
“I am pleased to announce that under the visionary leadership of the Acting Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, we are committed to working hand-in-hand with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the advantages offered by these inland dry ports in terms of improved trade, economic growth, and employment opportunities are fully realized by everyone.”
“With the recent enactment of the Nigeria Customs Service Act in 2023, the business community and stakeholders can expect a more fruitful collaboration with our service, leading to positive growth in our economy.”
“In recent times, the Nigeria Customs Service has taken significant steps in pursuit of its trade facilitation mission. These measures include the automation of trade procedures, highlighted by the recent launch of the Advanced Ruling System and the transition from Fast Track 2.0 to the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) system. The AEO system is a globally recognized program introduced by the World Customs Organization (WCO) to secure and expedite global trade.” He added.
The sensitization programme was organised by the Nigeria Shippers Council and launched by the Secretary of the State Government of Katsina. It was also graced by the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Mallam Dikko Umar (PhD), who was represented by Alh. Abdullahi Garba Faskari, as well as stakeholders.