The Minister for Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has made a declaration that the African continent cannot remain a dumping ground for vendors of all kinds of goods under the guise of Free Trade Agreement. She made the declaration in Abuja at an extraordinary meeting of Directors-General of Customs of the African Union (AU) where customs administrators around the African Union (,AU) converged with the aim of forging a new position of relevance in the world Customs Organisation.
Her words: “You must be patriotic. You must be Africa-focused. We cannot continue to be the world’s largest market for anybody who wants to sell anything.
“Selling and buying, that is trade and we must correct some of the historical imbalances that have made our economies very vulnerable.”.
Adeosun tasked the customs administrators to strive to strike a balance between revenue mobilisation, border production, security control, regulatory functions.
The African region, she stated remains number one in terms of illicit financial flows and charged governments in the region to do more to ensure strong customs organisation’s capable of checking illicit trade and trans-border crimes.
“We are number one in illicit financial flow. Money and goods flow out of our (African) countries without being taxed or assessed we are also heavily import-dependent for many of our basic goods. So we do need very strong focus on customs.
“I am to draw your attention to the fact that customs activities at the borders can make or break the economy. It is therefore a challenge to you to always employ interventions that would expedite the movement of trade goods across national borders in a simplified and predictable manner to enhance trade facilitation and promote economic growth in Africa,” the minister said.