Abuja- The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) will host the West and Central Africa sub-regions of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Public Relations Officer of NCS, Mr Wale Adeniyi, has said.
Adeniyi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the conference would hold on April 29, 2015.
He said that 24 customs administrators from West and Central Africa, over 100 international delegates and five international organisations would attend the forthcoming Directors-General of Customs Conference.
The NCS spokesman said that the main objective of the Directors-General of Customs conference was to debate and discuss issues of common interest to member countries of the sub-regions.
“The conference is for the Directors-General of Customs in West and Central African sub-region of the World Customs Organisation.
“The theme for this year is: “Coordinated border management, an inclusive approach for connecting stakeholders.
“We are expecting 24 customs administrations from West and Central Africa; we have gotten registration from all the members.
“We are also expecting participation of over 100 delegates in this conference; the Secretary General of WCO will be attending and many others,’’ Adeniyi said.
Adeniyi said the NCS had also received expression of interests from UN, AU, ECOWAS and the Economic Community for Central Africa State (ECCAS) to attend the conference.
He said before the conference, there would be a meeting of experts scheduled for April 27, to deliberate on issues that the directors-general would debate on at the conference.
The NCS spokesman said the meeting of experts would focus on the regional strategic plan.
He said the plan was activities that the customs administrators would be focusing on in terms of modernising procedures, cooperation and collaborations among customs administrations.
Adeniyi said the issue of donors would be discussed at the conference, listing the donor agencies to include the World Bank, African Development Bank, UK AID, ECOWAS and ECCAS.
“We have established a number of gaps that we need to fill but we could not mobilise enough resources to undertake some of these activities proposed.
“But collectively, we are going to plan a donor conference and we are also inviting the donors to be part of the conference.
“At that conference, we will explain to them the projects that we have and we will discuss the options for successors,’’ he added.
Adeniyi also disclosed that there would be elections of principal offices of Directors of World Customs Organisation in June, this year.
He said that as a region, there was the need for the members of the region to come together and take a position on the candidates to be elected.
“We are going to elect representatives into WCO organs like the Policy Commission.
“In 2014, Nigeria was a member of the policy commission, so we are going to elect some new members this year.”
The NCS spokesman said the NCS would use the forthcoming conference to showcase its progress in implementing the Pre-arrival Assessment Report (PAR) as a tool of trade facilitation.
“We are going to share our experience because some of the customs administrations are in the process of exiting the pre-shipment inspection contract that they were operating on.
“We (Nigerian Customs) successfully did that in Nigeria in 2013 and we are going to make presentations on that.
“The intention of the presentation is to tell them how we did it, what our experience was and what lessons they can learn,’’ Adeniyi said.
NAN recalls that the conference was initially scheduled to hold in March but was postponed due to the general elections. (NAN)