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NPA, Customs launch single window at seaports to grow competitiveness

The managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and hierarchy of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) have made public their collaboration to boost competitiveness by way of jointly unveiling Single Window (SW) platform at the ports.

Explaining the reasons behind the new scheme, managing director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Balla Usman said the target came via an intense automation with the aim of ushering in sustainable Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) at ports.

Usman explained further that the adoption of SW would make Nigeria’s ports competitive in the international trade network and boost the trade facilitation programme of the government.

Giving more details during her recent walking visit to the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) in Abuja recently, Ms Usman said the synergy on SW would boost government revenue and promote Public Private Participation through the attraction of local and Foreign Direct Investment ( FDI).

While revealing that NPA was aware of its responsibilities to create the enabling business environment to realize the objective, she averred that the Federal Government was determined to make the ports efficient, safe, secure, productive and Eco-friendly practices of its operations, be it logistic or financial base.

According to her, both federal agencies remain two strategic bodies of the government with serious responsibilities to drive the logistic and financial portals on behalf of the government and that the duo had the responsibility to synergise and build up a common industry culture around the ports towards achieving the right level in trade facilitation.

She made it clear that “The goal of trade facilitation is to help trade across borders, import and export faster, cheaper and more predictable while ensuring its safety and security”.

“Trade facilitation focuses on simplifying and harmonizing formalities, procedures and the related exchange of information and documents between the various partners in a supply chain.

“Transparency, simplification, harmonization and standardisation of port operations, could only be achieved by embarking on the establishment of a well-articulated single window system.

Continuing, Usman assured that “I would therefore, urge us not to lose track as well as relentless commitment as to meet the target of Nigeria joining 20 other countries to be in the forefront of implementing an efficient, effective and sustainable single window in 2020”.

Responding, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) said that her visit would lead to regular meetings and constant consultation between the two agencies to maintain closer relations for the good of the economy.

Ali assured that Nigerian Customs would do everything possible in promoting the trade facilitation programme of the government through collaboration with sister agencies and robust initiatives to promote business at ports.

Parts of Customs assurances include to work with NPA in deepen ing port operation and port security committees.