The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has embarked on a proactive initiative by spearheading an Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programme, aimed at enhancing the efficiency and predictability of trade facilitation efforts nationwide.

In a stakeholders’ meeting convened on Tuesday in Abuja, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, underscored the pivotal role of the programme in fostering collaboration among the customs service, other government agencies, and industry experts to elevate AEO initiatives.

Addressing the gathering, the CGC stressed the collective determination required to transform the existing narrative surrounding the ease of conducting business within and around Nigerian ports. He highlighted the comprehensive scope of the AEO programme, noting, “AEO cuts across virtually every player in the sector, enabling us to address pertinent issues and compile data that are more conducive for operators.” He reiterated the NCS’s commitment to optimizing trading experiences within Nigeria, expressing confidence in the successful implementation of the AEO pilot programme, scheduled to commence on April 15, 2024.

The objectives of the pilot programme are twofold: to assess the visibility and effectiveness of AEO implementation within the Nigeria Customs Service and to gather feedback from key stakeholders.

In a bid to promote transparency, inclusivity, and collaboration, the CGC stressed the importance of aligning the programme’s design and execution seamlessly with international standards. Selected stakeholders, including importers, exporters, small and medium enterprises, Customs licence agents, logistics operators, and government agencies, have been carefully chosen to participate in the pilot scheme of the AEO programme in Nigeria.

Chief Superintendent of Customs and project manager of the Authorised Economic Operator, Awa Nnenna, highlighted the programme’s capacity to streamline Customs clearance processes while ensuring transparency and inclusivity in accordance with international standards.

Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Charles Odii, commended the NCS for its proactive engagement with small-scale business owners through the AEO programme, affirming its potential to contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth.

Similarly, CEO of the Nigeria Shippers Council, Pius Akutah, lauded the NCS for its initiative, pledging unwavering support to ensure the success of the AEO programme.

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