The decision by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) management to establish a Trade Hub Centre at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Ojo, Lagos to assist traders in securing information about products and their status before importation may have failed to yield the desired result as the center has remained fallow soon after its launching last December.
In spite of the huge investments of funds and other logistics by the NCS in establishing it, the Nigeria Trade Hub Centre, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY gathered, has since been underutilized.
The highly elated Comptroller General of Customs, Abdulahi Inde Dikko had in December last year visited the Trade Fair Complex and, as part of processes marking the official launch of the Nigerian Trade Hub and the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), commissioned the center.
It was gathered that the NCS, having trained three persons selected by the BBA Market leadership at the Zone ‘A’ Headquarters, Yaba, Lagos on operating the facility, had handed over its management to the traders.
The establishment of the Nigeria Trade Hub Centre it was learnt, was facilitated by the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC), and supported by the NCS management, which funded the refurbishment of the building housing it, turning it into a state-of-the-art facility.
Speaking with SHIPS&PORTS DAILY, a member of CCC, Comrade Chinedu Ukaatu said the facility remained underutilized due to the problem of logistics and what he termed “ignorance of the traders”.
He said as a result of this, the center is only opened twice in a week.
“The problem we are having now is that we are still trying to sensitize the traders to always make use of the facility. The traders are not fully aware about the importance of the place. They are thinking it is a customs office but we have been trying to educate them on a weekly basis on the need to always go there. We are also having logistics problem about who is going to take care of the payment and maintenance of the office and the staff, because we need to run the center with fuel so we are still trying to meet with the customs management,” he said.
He said the committee has also met with the customs management on the need to set up similar trade hub centers in other markets to further sensitize the traders pointing out that when the logistics problems are addressed, the centers will be fully operational.
The Nigeria Trade Hub Centre it was learnt is the first in the series of such facilities planned for major trading centres across Nigeria.
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