A United Nations-powered trade facilitation committee is set to begin assessment of all seaports in Nigeria.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is empowering the National Trade Facilitation Committees under the ‘Transparent Trade Procedures in the Economic Community of West African States’ project funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, represented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
The monitoring team set up by the Nigerian government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry is set to begin assessment of the National Trade Facilitation Roadmap at all seaports in Nigeria.
Financial Street gathered that the NTFC on the ‘scooping mission’ is made up of members from relevant Nigerian government agencies and the organised private sector, comprising the Nigeria Customs Service, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Ports Authority, National Export Processing Council and Nigerian Association Of Chamber Of Commerce Industry Mines And Agriculture.
Other members of the trade facilitation team are officials of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
An insider source told our correspondent that the NTFR team would begin assessment of the port on March 22, 2020, starting with eastern ports. Delta Ports in Warri, Rivers Port in Port Harcourt and Onne Port will set the ball rolling by March 25, before Lagos on April 2 and 3.
The World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement is mainly hinged on single window platform that allows for digital interface between the shipper and relevant government agencies. The process reportedly eliminates corruption and reduces cost of importation by up 15 per cent.
“The TFA is broken into three categories. Category A has to do with what we are doing, the processes we have been able to install to make the trade process easier and smoother. Category B entails those things we can identify in the trade system that we can do between now and 2022 to facilitate trade, while Category C is about what we would want to do but don’t have the capacity and we need intervention from relevant international organisations.
“We will be assessing the ports to determine how importers and exporters deal with Nigeria. Hopefully, we will start with Delta Ports in Warri on March 22 and move to Port Harcourt and Onne ports on March 25. We will also visit the Calabar Port and on April 2 and 3, we will be at Tin Can and Apapa ports in Lagos,” said the source who pleaded anonymity.
The NTFC was tasked to draft a three to five-year trade facilitation implementation roadmap with key performance indicators.
According to the source, the indicators will be used to determine what percentage in seamless trade Nigeria has attained. Other achievements and gaps are in the country’s trade system.
Nigeria, on October 17, 2017, had announced that its trade facilitation roadmap was ready.
According to the government, the NTFR is a living document that will guide trade facilitation across the country, as well as boost the ease of doing business campaign.
The NTFC presented the roadmap to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja, and the document was received by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Edet Akpan, who explained that trade facilitation was critical in reducing cost and time of doing business.
“The National Trade Facilitation Agreement is consistent with Article 13 (Institutional Arrangements and Final Provisions) of the World Trade Organisation,” according to the ministry.
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