The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime has said that one of the surest way to strengthen naira is to come up with strategic policies that will aggressively drive export trade in the short, medium and long term.
Speaking at an event tagged “Multi-agency Stakeholders Enlightenment on Key Reforms of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council under the National Action Plan 7.0 on Agro-Export” at the Council headquarters in Apapa on Tuesday, Jime averred that the economic growth of Nigeria is hinged primarily on export. He however identified multiplicity of checks by government agencies and frequent clashes with security agencies as one of the impediments to export at the ports.
Represented by the Director of Regulatory Services, Mrs Ifeoma Ezedinma at the meeting organised in collaboration with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC)
, he said “In 2021, the statistics available shown that 1% increase in Agriculture products boosted our economic growth by 25%. This means that Nigeria has the potential to be much more, however, there are two challenges and impediments, one is access to markets and second one is access to finance for exports.
According to him, “Nigerians need access to finance to be able to sell their goods at the international market. It is not just the shipping line charges or terminal charges, the challenges starts from the farm, all the way before it even gets to the ports.
“We have yams in Nigeria, but it is being exported by Ghanaians, how does that happen? It would be good if Nigeria is really committed to facilitate trade and aggressively drive these policies that would enable trade both locally and internationally”
“We are aware that PEBEC gave birth to the domestic export warehouses and export terminals. These two facilities are supposed to collaborate with one another so that we don’t have charges duplicated in three places; export terminals, domestic warehouses as well as the ports.
“There is need to streamline activities because if the domestic warehouses are doing the same thing as the export terminals, they won’t be able to collaborate. If they are not doing the same thing, then they should complement one another.
“There has to be deliberate policies that would aggressively drive export in Nigeria. This would enable our currency to be stable for several decades” Jime stated
Jime admonished the Nigerian Police, especially as it concerns stopping of containers at ports, saying that the police has no such rights.
“It wouldn’t be nice for agencies to protect territories, the problems we have right now is that Customs is on one side and Police the other side, and both of them are checking cargoes, these are impediments.
“If Customs clears cargo, Police does not have the right or authority to detain the cargo. If the police have Intel on the cargo, you can follow it to the final destination and check it there since Police have access to everywhere, but not for them to congest our ports or the access roads. We see this problems on daily basis. Every of the agencies have their responsibilities cut out for them, so we should interface with one another, harmonise and facilitate trade.
“If the Shippers Council visit these agencies, it is not to fight them, but to solve problems” he said
In his remarks, PEBEC Project Manager, Mr Ayokunnu Ojeniyi said the Federal Government has now made it mandatory for Ministeries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to publish their procesaes and vital information on their websites with timeliness.