Ghana Delegates Visits Nigeria Customs Service On A Fact-Finding Mission

A high level team from Ghana paid Nigeria Customs Service a surprise courtesy visit to identify how the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and other IT modernization project on-going is saving the country billions of Naira and making the ease of business become a reality in Africa as relates Trade Facilitation.

The high level delegates drawn from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, with some senior officers from Ghana Revenue Authority numbering up to 16, met with the Customs Comptroller-General, Alhaji Inde Dikko behind closed for some minutes and was later joined by the Assistant Controller-General of Customs in charge of ICT with other ICT officers.

Leading the tour, Mr Bashir, the Comptroller ICT Unit took the delegates to the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report ruling centre and explained how PAAR has made the process of clearance of goods before the arrival of cargoes into Nigeria become very easy, saving costs and time for the country.

He further mentioned the fact that the system has also enhanced collaboration and build-up of integrity between Nigeria Customs Service and its various stakeholders in the industry globally.

The Nigeria Customs team informed the delegates that Nigerian traders most especially customs stakeholders in all sector now enjoy better trading processes through the modernization drive put in place by the federal government which in-turn has also created a more conducive environment for investment opportunities in the country.

The delegates spoke on low level of Africa in global trade, while they expressed optimism that the situation is fast changing due to the introduction of some strategies been introduced to make Africa more competitive in global trade.

The delegates unanimously agreed that “Nigeria's Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and the ongoing modernization drive has set a pace for Intra-African trade thus ensuring that African economy block remains strong, relevant and modernised to meet the needs of the citizens.

The delegates also acknowledged that Africa is going for higher levels speaking of how other countries ought to emulate modernization drive sweeping through Africa, starting with how Nigeria Customs now provides timely, authoritative and accurate information about Nigerian trade with the rest of the world through the Nigerian trade hub portal.

The first of its kind in Africa now offers on-line advisory on Customs Tariff Classification and Valuation, tax base, Nigerian regulatory agencies, customs brokers, and currency conversion tools”.

The high level delegates can reckon that the introduction of single window has now become a necessity in advancing the customs administrations globally.

Commending the efforts of the President of Ghana for taking the lead in introducing trade facilitation agreements in Ghana, the Nigeria Customs Service lauded the Ghana Customs Division for innovative thinking and assuring them of their continuous assistance when they take over from the Destination Inspection Companies come September 1, 2015.

The customs officers said since the arrival of West Blue consulting, the changes seen in a period of two years has been so significant compared to the yesteryears of other organizations that existed before the arrival.

The Single Window is a one-stop shop for both Ghana and International trade actors. It is a cross-agency web platform that is designed to integrate the various fast expanding electronic trade services from Ghana Government agencies, opening a new era for trade efficiency.

The successful implementation of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report System will modernize the importation aspect of the trade process in Ghana and improve the experience and confidence of the operators and actors in the trade chain.

We have received numerous letters, requesting to know how efficient the service has been, today, we are glad you are here yourselves to see that the Comptroller-General's response to your team is genuine and very factual.

The system was developed by our IT partner - West Blue Consulting, the bottle necks that were made have all been resolved, sabotage was reported and we have taken decisive actions concurrently. We now own the system and our stakeholders are so passionate and glad that trade facilitation is now becoming a fast reality.

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