Customs: Role model in trade facilitation

Managing Director, Techno Brain-West Blue and lead consultant of the Nigeria Single Window Environment Implementation, Ms Valentina Mintah has described the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as a role model in trade facilitation with the development of the Single Window platform even among developed coutries in the world.

Speaking in Abuja recently, Mintah said the NCS as the lead agency in the Single Window (SW) implementation in Nigeria has gone a long way in creating an enabling environment for trade to flourish in the country.
“SW is basically looking at the export, import and transit trade supply chain from the perspective of the trader. It looks at how best the trader can access information without going through multiple agencies by creating a one-stop-shop of all the process.
“With the SW, a trader does not need to fill a hundred forms for different agencies, he only needs to key into the information once and all relevant agencies can access it,” she said.
She said the Nigerian Trade Hub is now the SW for trade in Nigeria, which has helped in reducing the cost of doing business at the port.
“The Nigerian Trade Hub is now the SW for trade in Nigeria and it is the fundamental first step in any country’s SW journey. The SW helps in reducing cost of business and time of administering the trade supply chain.The Trade Hub avails an intending importer information about the regulating agencies of the particular commodity he wants to import, the required documents and the time and cost of processing the documents,” she said.
She added that the Trade Hub portal has significantly introduced transparency into the supply chain and reduced the cost and time of accessing international trade data.

“For example, if a new trader wants to import an item, he wouldn’t know which agency regulates that particular item or the cost of importing it. He might make some bad decisions and bring in something that is prohibited or something with high duty that it becomes financially unviable. So what the trade hub has done is to bring information to the fingertips of traders 24/7.

“At the moment the portal is experiencing over 70,000 hits per month from all corners of the world. It has introduced accessibility of consistent trade information to the trading public, and for the government it has introduced key statistics and data which ordinarily one wouldn’t have because the Trade Hub allows one to get into the psyche of a would-be trader,” she said.
She said having developed the Single Window platform, the next step is for a pronouncement from the government that the SW be implemented and that all agencies come on board to work together to actualise it.

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