To check the pervasive corruption in the ports sector of the nation’s maritime industry and improve its competitiveness across the region, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said it would work with relevant stakeholders to establish the electronic National Single Window and end all manual operations that promote greed and corruption.
In his address in Lagos during the 20th anniversary celebration of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), the NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, declared that the single window was not only timely but long overdue.
According to Bello, who was represented by the agency’s Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Mrs. Celine Ifeora, “when you know what single window stands for, you will know that for us to succeed in whatever we are doing in our ports, and for us to be competitive with what is going on in the world now, there must be a single window in our sector.
“Therefore, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council will work with the Federal Government to see how we succeed in putting up this single window in our country. We need to be automated, we are tired of manual practices – it brings a lot of greed and unnecessary trouble.”
He stressed that Nigeria needs it “to fulfil trade-related issues – be it import or export, or cargo on transit. This single window issue is all about facilitating trade. When we talk about trade facilitation, what comes to mind is simplifying, standardising and harmonising processes and procedures. We have to do this to ensure we eradicate all manual processes which bring about corruption.
“We also need to put this in place so that you can stay at the comfort of your room or office and transact whatever business without seeing anybody.”
Ifeora recalled that while Nigeria has continued to operate as if there is nothing at stake while grandstanding as the Giant of Africa, nearly all West African countries operate the platform, through which Benin Republic disclose a 38 per cent revenue increase, and reduced cargo dwell time from 14 to seven days.”
Regretting that the port concession has fallen short in efficiency and cost-effectiveness of services rendered, Ifeora said it was the reason that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has continued physical examination, with most of the available scanners not even working.
Consequently, cargo dwell time in the Nigerian ports continues to rise – now between 20 and 22 days, while vessel turnaround time, which had been brought down to two days, has risen to eight days, just as truck turnaround time remains worst ever, she noted.