Friday, 21 December 2012 00:00
79 Hits

MAN, critical stakeholders back government on Single Window initiative

Freight forwarders last week backed Government’s National Single Window initiative, pledging to ensure it works, in a bit to quicken its gains and collapse opportunities for extortion in line with importers prayers for a more cost effective business climate.

Speaking at the end of NSW workshop in Apapa, founder of the National Association for Government Approved Freight forwarders (NAGAFF) Dr. Boniface Aniebonam specifically described the NSW as a platform that would usher in a new dawn into the nation’s cargo clearing regime.

“It must succeed. All of us, freight forwarders, importers must make reliable declarations now”, Dr. Aniebonam posited, pointing out that Government has visibly shown appreciable seriousness, and which may only be frustrated, only if stakeholders fail to make genuine declarations.

“The onus is on all of us to make it work. And I am talking of all the critical stakeholders; that is, those who use the port to make genuine declarations for Customs purposes. I am talking as somebody who is involved in moving goods out of the ports.

The NAGAFF founder stressed the need for enforcement of the regulatory laws also, stressing that without this, a few people might be tempted to abuse or sabotage the scheme and as such incapacitate it.

“The Single window will work. But we must also ensure we develop the capacity for its sustainability” he explained, even as the National President, Association of Customs Licensed Customs Agents, Prince Olayiwola Shittu highlighted that Government was only cow-towing to agents ideas by its present initiative.

“The single window is our initiative. We have been pushing for it. And let me comment the Nigeria Customs Service, for bringing out this model that we have been working on all along. And for your information, by the time all the key actors key into the platform, it would be very easy for any Nigerian to take delivery of his goods from the port under 48 hours.

Prince harped on the need for all other government agencies to however partner with the Customs, noting that he was aware that some agencies might have begun to see the scheme as a Customs idea and as such develop resistance towards it.

“Here is a platform that if everybody keys into, even the clearing agent may no longer need to go into the port again before he could clear his cargo! With this platform, all you need is to do all your declaration (on line), you are able to meet the SON’s position, you are able to meet the NAFDAC conditions; you pay your shipping charges, pay for terminal operations and secure your release!”, he indicated further, adding that the scheme would also discourage loose compliance.

“You know in Nigeria, compliance is our major problem. You know it is what is also called the Nigerian factor”, he stated further, highlighting that it was because Nigerians sabotage the RAR (Risk Assessment Report) that government constrained its powers and turned into a mere advisory document.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on their own hailed the initiative as a tool to eliminate pronounced human contact, bottlenecks and corruption in the nation’s cargo clearing environment.

Maintaining that the NSW is a necessary platform that would therefore significantly boost Government revenues from trans-border trades, the MAN President, Chief Kola Jamodu observed that the scheme would no doubt boost the nation’s dream of achieving the 48-hour cargo clearing target.

“From all accounts, the aspiration of the Government and the private sector is the attainment of 48-hour cargo-clearing, which at present is about five days, having come down from the dismal 40 days obtainable three to four years ago.

“The impressive reduction in the long chain of regulatory/ security agencies operating at the port from about 19 to seven were to prepare the port for the Single Window Clearing System. This will no doubt significantly reduce both direct and indirect costs of clearing cargoes in the country” the MAN boss observed further, stressing that the final outcome of the NSW would certainly increase the competitiveness of locally produced goods, either for domestic consumption or for export.

Meanwhile, the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi has assured the nation that when the NSW comes on stream, it may wipe off stakeholders’ complaints on issues of man-made bottlenecks in cargo administration.

“The creation of a NSW holds many benefits for Nigeria: increased levels of service efficiency, predictable process and elimination of administrative bottlenecks; and which will ultimately increase revenue and economic growth”, he declared, in a statement delivered by Deputy Comptroller General (DCG) J. Atteh who represented him, confirming that it was actually a tool which manufacturers, exporters, importers, terminal operators, financial houses and regulatory bodies have all been waiting for.

“The Nigeria Customs Service recognizes these benefits and therefore reiterates its continuous commitment to creating the perfect NSW for Nigeria as the leading agency. All hands are on deck to realize the target of improving our trading across borders ranking by 50 per cent in the next five years”, the Comptroller General explained further.

Meanwhile, a Single Window expert, Johan Ponten has advised that though the initiative is a positive change,  Nigeria  must ensure that it proactively implement plans to prepare and support those to be affected by it.


Subscribe for Newsletters

New Downloadable Compass