•Wants end to 100% cargo examination
A former president of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu has said that the continuous delay by the Nigeria Customs Service to procure and install scanners at the ports has negative implications for the Presidential Ease of Doing Business initiative and efforts aimed at improving efficiency port operations.
“In this wise, I urge the Nigerian government and appropriate agencies in the maritime sector to follow the footsteps of other countries that have implemented the system successfully to enable swift movement of goods and services,” he said.
He said most of the challenges stifling trade facilitation and compounding the cargo clearing process in Nigeria stem from the absence of a National Single Window platform to streamline processes and enhance efficiency. “It is also appalling that among our neighbours in the West and Central Africa region, Nigeria is one of the few countries that do not operate the platform.
“When Single Window was established at the Cotonou Port, it reduced cargo delivery time from 40days to less than 10days. It increased government revenue by more than 39 per cent. In terms of truck transit down to port they gained 23 per cent of the time.
“Therefore, the implementation of a National Single Window will significantly improve cargo turnaround time at our ports, promote efficiency and transparency, and enhance Nigerian ports’ competitiveness in the West African region,” Shittu stated.
According to him, the 2018 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which revealed that cargo dwell time exceeded 20 days in average for most ports in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, means that the Nigerian seaports inefficient.
He said that will bring an added burden on business when compared to other regions in the world, as businesses relying on timely shipments are less likely to develop in such an environment, saying local importers need to integrate higher storage and inventory costs.
“Global best practices ensure that any port that fails to achieve 24-hour operations would lose its international competitiveness and Nigerian ports have already lost a significant portion of the cargoes destined for the region to our neighbours’ more efficient ports.”
He called all government agencies involved in the cargo evacuation process to formulate and implement policies that ensure 24 hour port operation. “For this to happen, cargo examination which is presently being conducted 100 per cent manually due to non-functional scanners must be automated.
I am a strong advocate of allowing the terminal operators to procure and install scanners as they are better suited to ensure the efficient management of the facilities.”