The Federal Government has been urged to immediately step up its reforms strategy on import and export processes to help reverse the current poor ranking by Trading Across Borders (TAB).
TAB, in its latest rankings, put Nigeria at 183rd position out of the 190 countries it rated on Ease of Doing Business (EODB).
In the ranking, Nigeria took the last position, while Mali, 85th position, was rated first among the 17 West African countries considered in the report.
President, National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, in a letter to the Presidency, dated June 10, 2018, said Nigeria’s poor ranking on ease of doing business has brought to the fore the need to urgently institute reforms to address the challenges on import, export and transit regulatory procedures.
Amiwero, who is also the Managing Director, Eyis Resources, said Nigeria’s import, export, regulatory and transit procedures are encumbered with lengthy, cumbersome procedures.
This, he said, is associated with unnecessary delays, high transaction cost and increase of cargo dwell time, which makes our port the most expensive in the globe based on verifiable information.
In the letter obtained by The Guardian, he said the reform should be targeted at implementing an integrated set policies and procedures that is globally accepted, which would ensure effective trade facilitation by the reduction of transaction cost, cargo dwell time and ensure safety and security of the processes.
“The poor rating of Nigeria can be seen from the identified challenges associated with the Import-Export, regulatory and transit procedures that is encumbered with lengthy and cumbersome procedure, which resulted to our present ranking of 183 from 190 countries.
“There is the urgent need to constitute a committee of trade procedure Experts, reform specialist and professional, as Task force to address the challenges urgently,” he stated.
Amiwero further recommended that the Federal Government should look into the issues of collapsed scanners, re-evaluate them to know the update and update the scanners for easy cargo examination.
He harped on the strict implementation and enforcement of the executive order in the seaport as stipulated in the Port Related offences, (Amendment) Act 61 of 1999.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman had recently threatened to seek the intervention of the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on the non-compliance by some government agencies to the presidential order on Ease of Doing Business at the nation’s seaports.
Usman’s reaction is coming in the wake of complaints by some stakeholders that the level of compliance to the presidential order by some government agencies, one year after the order was issued has left much to be desired.
She said the way some government agents float the order has limited its positive impact and the Federal Government.
While assuring that the Authority would continue to fulfil its own part of the order she lamented that the organisation has the limitation of compelling other agencies to do what they are supposed to do under the presidential directives.