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There are strong indications that the planned adoption of single window regime will make Nigeria’s ports competitive in the international trade network and boost the trade facilitation programme of the government.
The scheme is being driven by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) as part of renewed efforts to grow ease of doing business at the ports.
Whereas analysts are upbeat that the platform will further ease corruption and entrench transparency and accountability in the operations, the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Usman, said the two agencies have embarked on the establishment of single window through intense automation and introduction of Standard Operative Procedure ( SOP) at ports.
It would be recalled that she visited the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) on the right strategies to move the industry forward using single window option.
Besides, the platform had been in use in over 20 countries even as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has called on stakeholders to make input in the ports reform agenda in other to reposition the maritime industry for greater efficiency.
Ms. Usman clearly believes that high level synergy on single window would boost government revenue and promote public private participation through the attraction of local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
In her submission, the NPA boss is upbeat that the current government has all it takes to make the ports operations efficient, safe, secure, productive and eco-friendly be it logistics or financial base.
Besides, she understood that both the NPA and Customs are the two arrow head agencies driving the logistics and financial portals on behalf of the government, and as such must synergise and build up a common industry culture around the ports to grow trade facilitation.
According to her, “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 harmonising formalities, procedures and the related exchange of information and documents between the various partners in a supply chain.
“Transparency, simplification, harmonisation and standardisation of port operations, can only be achieved by embarking on the establishment of a well articulated single window system.
“I would therefore, urge us not to lose track as well as relentless commitment 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, “ she said.
Already, the Customs boss, Col. Ali had agreed to work with NPA in promoting trade facilitation programme using both single window platform and any other system that can achieve that in shortest time possible.