The review of the custom code has become a priority because of the liberalization of intra-Community trade.
The code contains the general rules and procedures for the application of tariff and other common policy measures.
The measures were introduced at Community level in the context of trade in goods between the customs territory of the 15- Member States of the ECOWAS and third countries in accordance with the requirements of these common policies.
The three-Day regional validation meeting at the Nigeria Customs Command has been on to accelerate and simplify customs procedures in the region, among others.
Mr. Laouali Chaibou, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs & Free Movement, described the review and validation meeting as another positive step in the building of a customs union in accordance with the objectives of the Treaty establishing the ECOWAS.
According to the Commissioner, since the Community is based on a customs union at this stage, and in accordance with the principles of attribution and subsidiarity, it is in the interest of both the economic operators of the region and the Customs Administrations to collect customs legislation in a code.
According to him, the draft also lays down “extensive harmonization, which is conceived as a means of contributing to the realization of the customs union.
Chaibou noted further that the presence of terrorist acts and illicit trafficking undermine the security of populations and the economic development of States.
While seeking the reduction of barriers to trade, he spoke of the need to increase security and safety at the external borders of the Community.
The use of information and communication technologies he stressed, should be accompanied by a harmonized and standardized application of customs controls by all Member States.
This is to ensure an equivalent level of customs control throughout the Community.
The Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service Dr. Patience Iferi, harped on the need for a harmonized customs operations in the region.
He stressed that Trade Facilitation had become an issue to be talked about in years to come while the adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Bali, Indonesia in 2012 has changed the dynamics of management of international trade.