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Dubai urges African countries to rejig customs service



Ms Nadya Kamali, Chief Executive of Dubai Customs World, has called on African countries to rejig their customs and excise service delivery to enable them compete favourably globally.

Kamali made the call while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency during the 5th edition of the Global Business Forum (GBF) on Africa on Friday in Dubai.

She said that the customs service in Dubai had established an electronic platform called Revenue, Innovative, Intelligence, Secured, Economy (RIISE) for re-engineering of the country’s customs processes.

According to her, the body performs customs reform consultancies to align countries with the best customs practices as well as with the Dubai Operating Model.

“We think if you need to achieve this, the government needs to take the lead and customs also have a role because if they change, everybody else changes and it has wave effects.

“But if you don’t change and you expect the logistics sector of the private sector to change, that is wishful thinking; how can they change when you have tied their hands and legs.

“So, the government should always take the lead and facilitate for the communities of the trade,’’ she said.

Kamali explained that the communities of the trade aside the consumers included those operating at the airports, because of their contributions toward good system of clearing goods.

She urged African countries to also create level playing ground for logistics companies to be able to move, pick and deliver within or outside their territories.

“Dubai self-growth strategy is how we position ourselves. Today, Dubai is the hub for three billion people around the world.

“So, anything that needs to go to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and on the whole Gulf Cooperation Council and even to Yemen, needs to stop in Dubai and then move.

“This is despite the fact that all of these have access to water, but because of our practice in Dubai and customs clearing, it becomes easier to come through the air and drop in Dubai, take a truck, deliver goods into Saudi and it will be there in 24 hours.

“Now, we need to improve our practices and find a wider market, which is why we’re actually becoming the hub not only for this, but also for Africa and South America.

On how Dubai had been able to be a central hub, Kamali said the country had assets called Emirates Airlines, which is available  in 26 locations around the world.

She assured African countries of Dubai’s support through secured channels between Dubai and various destinations in Africa with the target of being trade hubs.

Kamali called for collaboration between Dubai and African nations, urging them to create similar operating model such as RIISE for businesses to thrive.

“If I actually decide to throw a truck in Addis Ababa and tell him to do this truck to any village in Ethiopia, I do expect that we get the support of the government.

“The movement from the time the airplane lands, till it clears, it doesn’t take more than three to four hours, not three to four weeks, and then the security of this goods, so that we have secured places for these goods.

“And then when we move, it’s uninterrupted. I don’t need three, four or five customs officers during the journey to stop it because every time you stop, it’s a delay in the delivery. It’s more in transit time, because it’s costlier to these traders.

“And it’s also costly to me as a government because if I don’t facilitate to these traders, investors will not come, and the goods will not move. This is how you become a trader. So, what we’re doing is we’re introducing the world’s logistic passport,” Kamali said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi

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