The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, says customs activities at the borders can make or break the economy, urging African Union of Directors-General of Customs to facilitate movement of goods across borders.
Adeosun said this at the opening ceremony of First extra-ordinary meeting of African Union (AU) Sub-committee of Directors-General on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said that multifaceted functions of customs administrations globally had impacted on the economic wellbeing of citizens and security of nations.
Adeosun said that the AU’s objectives of fostering unity, promoting economic growth and enhancing security shows expression in what customs administrations of AU were carrying out at the meeting.
“I understand that the DGs of Customs will be discussing issues of mutual cooperation among customs administrations to forge a common position for mere relevance in governance of World Customs Orgainisation (WCO).
“I assure you that Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, is always willing and ready to support any decision that can impact positively on the economic and security fortunes of the nation and that of the AU member states.
“I am, however to draw your attention to the fact that customs activities at the borders can make or break the economy.
“It is therefore a challenge to you to always employ interventions that will expedite the movement of trade goods across border in a simplified and predictable manner to enhance trade facilitation and promote economic growth on African continent,’’Adeosun said.
Adeosun said that customs administration played vital roles in the growth of international trade and development of global market.
She said that Africans were eager to see the quick establishment of continental free trade area that would encourage intra-African, promote capacity utilisation of African products and improve the economic status of citizens.
“I want to remind the DGs that it will be appropriate for African Union Commission (AUC) to take on board the issue of 0.2 per cent import levy and come out with clear guidelines for implementation by all member states as a permanent source of funding for activities of the AUC,’’ she added.
Adeosun assured the DGs of customs and AUC of Nigeria support to achieve set objectives and promote trade for economic development and enhancement of security.
“It is my hope that decision coming out of this meeting will be unanimous in line with AU agenda to project the African interest at the WCO in particular and the world in general.