The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is about to witness remarkable transformations as the newly appointed Acting Comptroller-General (CG), Adewale Adeniyi takes charge, spearheading innovative projects aimed at unlocking the full potential of the service. With a strong focus on collaboration, engagement with international organizations, the pursuit of cutting-edge technologies, and consolidating on previous gains, the NCS is poised to redefine customs practices for the better.
The appointment of Acting CG Adewale Adeniyi was announced on Monday, 19 June 2023, while he was attending the Policy Commission and Council meetings of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Brussels, Belgium. Leveraging this global platform, the Acting CG engaged in topical discussions within the global Customs community, advocating for the exploration of AI-driven solutions, including Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions like ChatGPT and advanced geo-spatial intelligence approaches such as GEOINT. These technologies present immense potential for enhancing communication, decision-making processes, and enforcement operations within Customs.
Additionally, the NCS has already established a GEOINT unit, leveraging geospatial data, mapping techniques, and satellite imagery to gain valuable insights for customs operations. Collaborative engagements are already underway to operationalise the use of GEOINT to enhance the efficiency of NCS enforcement operations and contribute to overall efficiency. These advancements underline the NCS’s proactive approach toward embracing cutting-edge technologies.
The Acting CG further engaged in strategic discussions with partners such as the WCO, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Japan Customs Administration. The discussions aim to garner support for the establishment of a customs Laboratory, a significant milestone in enhancing customs operations and trade facilitation across Nigeria.
Amidst the current landscape of evolving global trade dynamics, the NCS Laboratory will provide comprehensive solutions to address challenges such as counterfeit goods, smuggling, and non-compliant imports, thereby bolstering revenue generation and ensuring the protection of public health and safety. With its advanced analytical capabilities, the laboratory is expected to deliver precise identification, verification, and classification of goods, enabling efficient enforcement measures and informed decision-making, while fostering an environment of trust and credibility within Nigeria’s trade ecosystem, marking a transformative step towards achieving seamless customs operations, trade competitiveness, and national economic growth in line with the vision of the President Tinubu Led Administration.
Furthermore, Acting CG Adeniyi’s engagements extended to fruitful discussions with relevant experts and donors, focusing on crucial areas such as conducting a Time Release Study (TRS), implementing the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, leadership, and management development. These discussions underscore his commitment to comprehensive improvements and his inclination to adopt innovative solutions across various customs domains, ultimately enhancing customs operations.
The outcome of the council meeting witnessed the election of Ian Saunders of the United States as the new Secretary General of the WCO, an important position that sets the direction for customs practices worldwide. This election highlights the significance of the council meeting and the influential role the NCS played in shaping the future of customs operations on a global scale.
Under the leadership of the Acting CG, the Nigeria Customs Service is embarking on an exciting journey towards enhanced customs efficiency. Through international collaborations, engagement with the WCO, exploration of AI-driven solutions, and strategic discussions, the NCS is pioneering innovative projects that will shape the future of customs practices in Nigeria. With a strong emphasis on technology and international partnerships, the NCS is well-positioned to make substantial advancements in customs operations, ultimately benefiting trade facilitation, security, and operational effectiveness.