Irked by the influx of smuggling of arms and ammunitions into the country, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has unveiled plans to introduce the Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) to curtail the menace by way of streamlining good clearance.
AEO is a programme introduced by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in conjunction with National Customs Administration to facilitate trade with the security situation associated with the import and export businesses cross international border.
Customs Controller General (CCG), Col. Hameed Ali, who disclosed this at an industry event said: "The need for stakeholders in the maritime sector to get involved in the AEO is of enormous importance as this will further boost a safe framework of standards and as well secure and facilitate global trade as its been done in the other part of the world.
Ali, who was represented by the Deputy Comptroller General of Customs on Strategic Research and Planning (SR&P), Patience Iferi, said: "If Uganda a very small country in terms of population and sizes can celebrate and embrace the AEO, why should Nigeria the giant of Africa not boast of the AEO?"
He stressed that getting involved will help stakeholders to trade internationally rather than being limited to local trade.
The Deputy Controller Mark L the AEO team Leader for Zone "A" informed that the "increase in volume of trade among countries and the changing trends in supply chain made it imperative for customs administration to review the role of customs in international trade, and as well sensitize the business community on the need for operations as AEO.
On selection of operators, he emphasized that there is need for stakeholders to be trustworthy and transparent as this is the major requirement to be an AEO operator.
Other requirements, according to him, includes; must be an economic operator and part of supply chain; record of compliance with customs with customs legislation and taxation rules; and no record of serious criminal offences relating to economic activity of the applicant.
The applicant should have operated in the country for three years and above without any problem with the relevant authorities in the country.