Nigeria is third most difficult country for cross-border trade in ECOWAS

The World Bank has rated Nigeria among 16 worst nations in the world in the area of doing business and the third most difficult country for cross-border trade in the Economic Community of West African States region.

A report by the bank specifically placed the nation in 170th position out of 185 world economies polled.

The ranking was obtained from the website by the ‘Ease of Doing Business and Distance to the Frontier’.

The report, however, showed that Nigeria moved up by five points in the latest rating as against 175th position out of 189 countries polled last year.

It gave some of the parameters used for the ranking as starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; getting credit; protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Although there were different ratings for all the categories, Nigeria ranked last in the world in terms of the ease of registering property.

The report listed the parameters used for the regional rating as the time and cost (excluding tariff) associated with exporting and importing standardised cargo or goods by sea transport; document preparation; Customs clearance and inspections; inland transport and handling; as well as port and terminal handling.

In the ECOWAS region, Burkina Faso was ranked the most difficult country for trade across borders at 174. Mali came second at 163 while Nigeria ranked third at 159.

Gambia was ranked the easiest country for trade across borders in the ECOWAS region at 77; Senegal came second at 79 while Cape Verde came third at 101.

While it takes an average of 19 days to export goods at $1,040 per container and with six documents in the Gambia, it takes an average of 22.9 days to export goods in Nigeria at $1,564 per container and with nine documents, according to the report.

It stated that a trader in Gambia would require an average of 19 days to import cargo at $745 per container with six documents. But in Nigeria, it would take an average of 33 days to import cargo at $1,959.5 per container with13 documents.

There were also slight variations in the cost of exports and imports in Lagos when compared with the entire country. In Lagos, for instance, the cost of exports per container was put at $1,380.

The report gave its breakdown as document preparations cost, $280 for 12 days; customs clearance and inspection cost of $350 for three days; inland transportation and handling cost, $300, to take three days.

For imports, documents preparation would take a period of 14 days at $330; customs clearance and inspections, 12 days at $360; inland transportation and handling, two days at $400.

A list of the documents required for imports in Nigeria was given as Bill of lading, Cargo Release Order, Combined Certificate of Value and Origin, Commercial invoice, exit gate, Form M, Letter of Credit, Manufacturer’s Certificate of Production (SONCAP), packing list, payment receipt of customs fees and duties, Pre-arrival Assessment Report, Single Goods Declaration Form and Terminal Handling receipts.

Documents required for export include; Bill of Lading, Cargo Release Order, Commercial Invoice, Customs Export Declaration, Form NXP, Inspection report, Packing List, Technical Standard / Health certificate and Terminal Handling receipts.

The National Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Billy Harry described the report as accurate and comprehensive.

He said, “If we want to make changes and bring about improvement in the growth of Nigeria economically, politically, the first step is to face reality. The report was very frank; it has reviewed our tax system, contract procedures and penalties for defaulting. It has also clearly shown that our power situation is still abysmal and that corruption is also part of the problem that prevents due process from being implemented in such a way that we can apply best practices in every area of national life.

“What that report should do today is to spur Nigerians and Nigeria’s regulatory bodies and those saddled with the responsibility of growing the economy like NACCIMA to become proactive.” 

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