For Nigeria to keep pace with the global standard in trade facilitation, the need for the Federal Government to simplify and avoid ambiguous laws in the maritime sector has been stressed.
In view of this, stakeholders in the maritime industry have therefore called for the establishment of a strategic compliance management committee to monitor and ensure that port industry operators comply with international trade laws.
According to a communiqué issued at a workshop organized by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council in Onitsha, the operators said there was the need for utmost attention by relevant bodies to keep pace with globalization in international trade practices’ compliance to trade laws, regulations and guidelines.
The stakeholders, however, stressed the need to have clear understanding of the rules that governed trade in their areas of operations and to take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the laws for the improvement of the economy.
They also stressed the need to always periodically review import and export guidelines and regulations, and advised stop to all forms of sabotage through documentation forgeries inimical to the growth of the country’s economy.
The communiqué reads in part: “The laws and guidelines for trade should be simplified and unambiguous to accommodate peculiarities such that trade can flow seamlessly. The use of high and modern technology must be employed in trade management process to achieve desired results.
“Government should create an enabling environment in ports by providing adequate infrastructure, moderate charge tariffs to provide adequate manpower in service delivery.’’
The stakeholders further observed the need for government to make compliance to rules, regulations and laws easier and cheaper, and should provide incentives for compliant stakeholders. According to them, government should make laws that are enforceable and will encourage participation of relevant stakeholders, stressing that excessive documentation should be avoided by both government agencies and private operators at the ports.
The participants observed that the current paletisation policy embarked by the government was making procedures in international trade very cumbersome. Stakeholders were also advised to take advantage of benefits of treaties and compliance, saying it would ensure safety of lives and property, improve government revenue, cut cost in clearance procedures and level playing field for all.
“That for effective implementation of compliance laws, regulations and guidelines, government should ensure the sustainability of trade laws, good reward system and proper funding of regulatory agencies.
“There is need for stakeholders in Anambra to synergize and partner the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to seek the cooperation of the Anambra government as regards the proposed Truck Transit Park in the state,” the participants added.