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Smuggling: Customs Set To Launch Analytical Laboratory

By Obiabin Onukwugha

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, says the Service is to launch its Customs Analytical Laboratory.

The Customs Analytical Laboratory is a critical measure set to enhance NCS’s capacity to detect and prevent smuggling, counterfeit goods, and other illicit activities at the ports.

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Adeniyi, made this known during a media briefing at the Service’s Headquarters in Abuja. He said the initiative will take effect between the second quarter and third quarter of the year.

Adeniyi described the CAL as a specialised facility that is equipped with advanced analytical instruments and techniques for the scientific analysis of goods and materials.

He further stated that the project is also designed to determine the authenticity, composition, quality, and safety of goods, including testing for chemical composition, product integrity, and adherence to regulatory standards – through various technological-based tests.

He also expressed confidence that the initiative will pave ways to achieve trade facilitation by expediting the clearance process for compliant traders and promoting confidence in the integrity of the customs system.

On the export front, Adeniyi said the Service had, in March 2024, initiated discussions with the leadership of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in the First Quarter to explore avenues for sustaining the positive growth in export transactions.

“Its primary objective is to ensure compliance with Customs regulations by providing accurate and reliable testing and analysis of imported and exported goods.

“Leveraging state-of-the-art technology and expertise, aided by the Customs Analytical Laboratory, is expected to enhance NCS’s capacity to detect and prevent smuggling, counterfeit goods, and other illicit activities, thereby safeguarding public health, safety, and economic interests.”

“A dedicated technical committee has been established to address specific areas of concern and enhance export facilitation. This proactive measure aligns with the President’s agenda to promote export trade, diversify the economy, and generate foreign exchange from non-oil exports.

“Furthermore, it aims to prepare Nigeria for the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on April 30, 2024, through guided trade initiatives. The NCS remains committed to fulfilling its obligations to ensure the success of these initiatives and contribute to the nation’s economic development and integration into the global market.

“The NCS is aware of the challenges faced by members of the public, particularly regarding the verification of customs documents. In response, we have initiated measures to provide accessible application gateways for the public to verify relevant customs documents, such as duty payments on vehicles, at their convenience.” Added the CGC.

“It is important to highlight that the reforms discussed are part of the President’s ongoing efforts to enhance port operations. A recent development is the plan to introduce a Single Window system, spearheaded by the Minister of Finance,” he stated.

He, however, revealed that the steering committee responsible for implementing the Single Window System will soon be inaugurated.

 

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