Cumbersome system in ports hinders trade facilitation – NCMDLCA president

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Mr Lucky Amiwero
Mr Lucky Amiwero

Mr Lucky Amiwero, President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), on Saturday said that cumbersome and archaic system in the ports hindered trade facilitation.

Amiwero made the observation on an Instagram live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunna of the MaritimeTv.

He discussed the topic: Re-evaluating the Concept of Trade Facilitation in Nigeria’s Port Industry.

According to him, there is no trade facilitation in Nigerian ports.

He claimed that activities of the ports negated three requirements for trade facilitation – transparency, predictability and consistency.

“Trade facilitation is all about reducing your complexities in transactions, procedures and practices,” he said.

Amiwero also said that trade facilitation had to do with harmonising, simplifying and minimising the cost of doing business.

“In evaluating the port system, harmonisation of laws and procedures, simplification of administration, standardisation and transparency are needed, but at present, the port system is hindered by procedures.

“These procedures are not based on international processes, because what we have is lengthy, cumbersome and archaic,” he said.

Amiwero said that access roads to the ports, which should be trade facilitation tools, were characterised by gridlock.

He added that it was difficult to predict cargo clearance period at the ports.

According to him, Nigeria controls 78 per cent of cargo within the West African sub-region but does not have scanners.

“We have to offload containers, and this makes the ports expensive due to time wastage.”

He advocated a single window system which he described as single administration, single transaction and single delivery.

Amiwero noted all over the world, customs had been the lead agency in the ports and allowed people to enter the ports for examination of cargoes.

He urged that the Nigeris Customs Service (NCS) should adopt the four pillars of trade facilitation on harmonisation, simplification, standardisation and transparency.

He advised that NCS should comply with the globaal trade procedures including adoption of the four pillars of trade facilitation.

“Customs is meant to balance trade and not seek revenue, implement government’s economic policy on trade, export and manufacturing, safeguard corridors and system and ensure investment, before talking about revenue.

“In talking about revenue, you kill small and medium enterprises with debit notes.

“All these inhibit the ease of doing business that government is pushing for,” he said.

He urged the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and other stakeholders in maritime to improve the situation to ensure trade facilitation in the ports.

“An example of things that hinder trade is what is happening on the waiver given to importers during the COVID-19 era; up till now, the importers have not been refunded their money.

“This is a directive by government; it has not been carried out, this is not good for our ports, it makes our ports to be among the most expensive in the world,” he said.(NAN)

-August 29, 2020 22:46 GMT

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