Customs: World Bank Trains Officers On Regional Integration

By Bayo Bernard

As men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS begins to interact constantly with their counterparts from other West African nations, it’s expected that they will begin to shed behaviors that brings odium to the service according to close watchers of the over 100 year NCS .

But for Comptroller Muhammed Uba Graba, the Area Controller of Seme Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, it’s not yet late to redeem the service, regarded as one of the best in the continent, what men and officers required, he said, is regular training to meet up with their counterpart in other parts of the world.

In all, the ripple effect on the economy, the controller said will be seamless movement of goods in and out of the country’s borders as well as generating more revenue for the federal government.

Some renowned global bodies appear to be filling that gap following the training organized for top customs officers from the central and West African region and other stakeholders recently.

The training took place in the Ghanaian capital Accra last week.

The magazine learned that the workshop for West and Central African regions on One Stop Border Post, OSBP was facilitated by USAID, World Bank, ECOWAS, NEPAD, JICA and Japan International Cooperation Agency and other development partners, to promote regional integration, trade facilitation and economic development in the two regions.

Recall also that the European Union, EU recently donated scanners to Nigeria and Togo as part of effort to facilitate trading activities at the new Economic Community of West African states, ECOWAS joint border post at Seme /Krake Badagry.

Speaking on EU efforts to facilitate trade in the region, Comptroller Muhammed said the gesture will boost revenue generation of the command. Certainly.

But the worry among stakeholders is that such revenue increase may not necessarily reflect on the national purse except corrupt tendencies among some elements in the service are purged.

But as they engage from time to time with other customs personnel in the region, behaviors like these are expected to disappear giving way to modern, corrupt free customs that the nation can be proud of, critics said.

This will be in line with the dream of Comptroller General of Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) of bequeathing to the country corrupt-free and revenue savvy Service, critics say.

For instance, the setting up of a joint border post at Seme/ Krake Badagry, according to Comptroller Muhammed has brought closer the two Services of Nigeria and Benin Republic, who until now were operating as rivals.

It will also reduced to the barest minimum factors that affect the seamless clearance of goods along the borders shared by the two West African neighbors, Mohammed said.

“The border post will improve our revenue generation by way of exchange of information, sensitization and we will be working together along with the Benin counterpart to make sure that the porosity of the old system is minimize to the barest minimum,” he said.

Controller Muhammed, as one of the participants that took part in the training facilitated by international partners in Ghana told the magazine that the workshop will enhance “regional integration, trade facilitation and economic development in the regions.”

Since “Nigeria is a member of West African countries seeking regional integration for easy movement of goods and people along the Lagos Abidjan corridor,” it’s expected that a stronger regional trade community similar to that of East Africa will emerged, Mohammed said.

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