Customs Seeks to Operationalise AEO Concept to Ease Business at Ports

James Emejo in Abuja

The Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, yesterday pushed for the deployment of the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programme to enhance the efficiency and predictability of trade facilitation efforts in the country.

Essentially, the AEO status is an internationally recognised standard indicating that the business role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet Authorised Economic Operator standards and criteria.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ engagement to promote the concept, Adeniyi said the programme would foster collaboration between the service, Other Government Agencies (OGAs), and experts to boost AEO programmes.

The CGC underscored the determination needed to work together and ensure that the narrative about the ease of doing business in and around Nigerian ports was changed for the better.

He said, “And if you have observed, you will also see that AEO cuts across virtually every player in the sector, the exporter, the importer, the government agencies, regulatory agency, the customs, and everybody in one way or the other.

“This allows us to address some of those issues so that when next operators talk about compiling how much it takes them, we will see data that are a little bit more friendly.”

According to him, the NCS in February 2024 launched a Time Release Study (TRS) as another measure to optimise the trading experience within the country.

Adeniyi further assured the stakeholders of customs’ preparedness to run the AEO pilot programme, which would hopefully start on April 15, 2024.

He also explained that the objectives of the pilot were to evaluate the visibility and effectiveness of implementing the AEO initiative within the service and to solicit feedback from all our key stakeholders.

According to him, “All these pilots that we want to run, we aim to identify potential challenges, fine-tune our processes, and lay the groundwork for a full-scale rollout of the AEO programme.”

He expressed optimism that the service will be committed to fostering transparency, inclusivity and collaboration while ensuring that the program’s designs and execution align seamlessly with international standards.

“Why we do this is we want to remain attuned to the unique realities of our local context. Seven key stakeholders that are legal entities whose operations span across the international supply chain have been carefully selected by the pilot programmes.”

He further expressed his readiness to partner with business stakeholders to enhance trade in the country, urging participants to expedite their commitment to ensuring the potential of the programme, which would foster a culture of efficient customs processes compliance, integrity, and collaboration that will propel the country.

He said, “This is a collective and transformative journey we must come together with renewed determination. Knowing that together we can shape a future that knows no boundaries and prosperity with no limits.”

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