The Nigeria Customs Service has expanded its horizon, training officers on Harmonized System coding and customs laboratories to improve duty collection and enhance service efficiency.
Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, made this known during a speech at the commencement of a five-day course for the training of specific officers on Monday, 29 January 2024, at the Nigeria Customs Command and Staff College Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The CG, recognizing the need for NCS laboratories, collaborated with the EU-WCO Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, GIZ, and others to actualize this vision.
Represented by the Assistant Comptroller General in charge of Training and Coordination, Malata Yusuf, the CGC emphasized the necessity for customs to have their laboratory to determine the preferential conditions of goods, duties to be paid, and the genuineness and safety of goods.
CG Adeniyi stated, “The selected officers are to make good use of the opportunity to acquire knowledge that will pave the way for NCS to thrive in global trade, Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, and other areas; he advised participants to actively exchange ideas during the educational workshop.
According to ACG Yusuf, NCS needs this lab to determine certain chemicals and products, equipping officers with the proper knowledge for practical application over time.
He disclosed that the training is in three phases: intermediary, advanced training, and training the trainers, where trained officers will subsequently train others.
Assistant Comptroller General HJ Swomen, overseeing the Excise Free Trade Zone and Industrial Incentive Department, expressed NCS’s desire to build laboratories, contacting WCO for assistance. He stated that officers are prepared to learn from experts, providing the foundation for the laboratory.
He further noted that with all participants as scientists, officers have the opportunity to learn international best practices in HS and laboratories, preparing for the establishment of NCS labs.
Expert Alvaro Fernandez from Spanish customs administration, leading the scoping mission in establishing customs labs in Nigeria, explained that WCO is scanning the options, allocation, facilities, and perspective for having a lab in Nigeria.
He added that the labs will help NCS collect customs duties appropriately and protect society from imported chemicals, drugs, and terrorist devices, among other things.
Assistant Comptroller of Customs Abubakar Nafiu, serving under the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit and a committee member of the Customs Laboratories Initiative, stated that the absence of laboratories has cost the service significant revenue loss.
He disclosed that the workshop aims to consolidate existing initiatives and formulate infrastructure for revenue generation, HS code generation, and enhanced security.
He unveiled that this will help NCS analyze and ascertain the origin of goods based on their texture, chemical composition, and structure.
Konneh Gasper, an expert trainer on the HS by the WCO from the Cameroon Customs Administration, stated that the HS code is the international language for classifying and codifying commodities.
According to him, “the HS is used to collect duties, facilitate trade, gather data on international trade, and monitor sensitive goods.’’
He outlined that the rules of origin, Customs lab, and HS code are all included in the WCO revenue package.
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) representative, Ms. Seno Usendia, advised participants to collectively focus on building the expertise necessary for the successful application of Harmonized Systems Codes.