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Regional experts validate supplementary act aimed at improving customs operations in the region
L-R Mr. Tei KONZI and Mr. Dimka Victor David, Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Services

Abuja, 7th September 2018. Customs experts from Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have urged the Commission to support the implementation of the Supplementary Act on Mutual Administrative Assistance and Cooperation between Customs Administrations in the region.

The experts who met in a three day meeting from 4th to 6th September 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria to review and amend the draft Supplementary Act also called for the computerisation of customs offices in Member States for better interconnectivity of Customs computer systems.

The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free movement, Tei Konzi stated that this would help improve the exchange of information and strengthen cooperation amongst Customs operatives in the region.

Similarly the Commission’s Director for Customs, Salifou Tiemtore in his presentation to the delegates on the draft Supplementary Act mentioned that the need for improved exchange of information was due to the worrying security situation prevailing in the West Africa region and the liberalization of intra-community trade and free movement of goods in the custom union under construction which is also likely to generate illicit traffic flows.

Cross section of participants during the meeting

The experts noted that, after a comparative analysis of the legal and practical provisions of the ECOWAS convention and the Johannesburg convention it had become necessary to revise the convention and adapt it to address modern challenges.

They highlighted the need for the Supplementary Act to take into account the protection of cultural objects, works of art and antiquities, endangered species of flora and fauna in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The draft Supplementary Act is a follow up from Protocol A/P5/5/82 called the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters which ECOWAS signed on 29 May 1982.

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