PHOTO: Tonye Bakare
NPA, customs mull new platform
The much anticipated single window platform appears to be on the verge of becoming a reality as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), take a giant stride to launch Nigeria among the 20 countries using the platform by 2020.
However, 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.
The adoption of single window will make Nigeria’s ports competitive in the international trade network and boost the trade facilitation programme of the government. It will also reduce corruption and entrench transparency and accountability in the operations.
The desired reforms at the ports may not be completed without the full implementation of the single window platform by the ports and customs authorities and a host of others in the chain of trade facilitation.
To bring this to bear, the NPA and NCS are collaborating to introduce the single window platform at the ports.
The Managing Director, NPA, Ms Hadiza Balla 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.
Usman recently visited the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) on the right strategies to move the industry forward.
She said the synergy on single window would boost government revenue and promote public private participation through the attraction of local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
She assured that the Federal Government is determined to make the ports operations efficient, safe, secure, productive and eco-friendly be it logistics or financial base.
Noting that the NPA and Customs are the two arrow head agencies driving the logistics and financial portals on behalf of the government, she said the duo have the responsibility to synergise and build up a common industry culture around the ports to achieving the right level in trade facilitation.
“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.
The CG, Nigeria Customs Service, said 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.
Ali also promised to collaborate with the NPA to rejuvenate port operation and port security committees and ensure that the meetings are attended by senior officials of all the affected agencies and take responsibilities.
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside said there was need to harness a synergy of ideas from all stakeholders towards ensuring a very user friendly port system that will be a model in the sub-region. He added that the need for seamless transaction at the ports cannot be over emphasized.