Laments delay in Single Window operation
By Eguono Odjegba
THE call by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, for operationalisation of the National Single Window, NSW, for clearing imports may have received a boost as the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, plans deployment of cargo scanners in the nation’s seaports before the end of 2020.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who gave the hint recently during the House of Representatives public hearing on the incessant influx of fake, substandard and counterfeit products into the country, said an implementation committee is currently working round the clock to ensure the Single Window system becomes operational and efficiently driven by scanners to be deployed soon.
He said: “This will significantly improve cargo turnaround time at our ports, promote efficiency and transparency, thereby removing the corruption opportunities that fuel the entry of substandard goods into the country thereby enhancing Nigerian ports’ competitiveness in the West African region.”
A statement by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, signed by Rakiya Zubairu, Head of Public Relations, also quoted the Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, speaking on the behalf of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as commending efforts of the Joint Committee and expressed hope that the House hearing will be a step towards putting an end to the influx of fake counterfeited products into Nigeria.
In the same light, the Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Hon. Olufemi Fakeye, was quoted as saying that the hearing “will address the challenges of eradicating imported counterfeit products, particularly in view of Nigeria’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA.”
This is even as the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business and Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee, PEBEC, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, hinted that PEBEC was working to ensure that only Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Police Force will be at the seaports as there would be no need for routine physical examination of cargo by additional agencies at the ports, when the Single Window project becomes operational.
Oduwole said the decision to streamline operations of agencies at the port was first implemented by the previous administration in 2011, and again reinforced in 2018; noting that streamlining agencies’ operations at the port is at the core of Nigeria’s ease of doing business reforms and in line with global best practices aimed at removing bureaucratic constraints and reducing costs of doing business in Nigeria.