The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mallam Habib Abdullahi has enumerated some critical areas that need to be addressed in order to accelerate the clearance of goods under the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Abdullahi identified cumbersome procedures and obsolete legal framework as some of the factors militating against efficient and effective clearance of goods at the nation’s gateways.
While exchanging views with a World Bank team on support mission to the country on the implementation of the TFA, the NPA chief identified provision of information technology, enhanced intermodal transportation and effective manpower training as vital components needed for trade facilitation.
He expressed hope that cargo clearance at the ports would be enhanced if the World Bank could intervene in addressing these needs.
Abdullahi reiterated the need for all government agencies involved clearance of goods and trade facilitation to create a synergy through a single window network.
Earlier, leader of the delegation and Nigeria’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ambassasdor David Adejuwon, said the team was in Nigeria in company of World Bank officials to visit border agencies and solicit inter-border cooperation, harmonisation and mutual understanding among concerned stakeholders.
Adejuwon noted that the Trade Facilitation Agreement is aimed at expediting action on clearance and release of cargo at all entry points so as to reduce the cost of transactions.
He disclosed that the World Bank is prepared to assist Nigeria in the area of capacity building especially on technical matters.
Leader of the World Bank team, Emmanuel Henrigoes stressed the need for NPA to improve on its information and communication technology.
Other members of the World Bank/WTO delegation include Robert Struthers, Azarema Abdulkadri, an Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Mikiko Ollison and a representative of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
In a separate development, the NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, has assured the United States government through its Consul General of NPA’s commitment to capacity building and attainment of greater efficiency at the ports.
Abdullahi gave the assurance during the visit of the Consul General, U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, John Boay, who paid him a courtesy visit at the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
Abdullahi said the mutual cooperation being sought by the United States government with NPA was important in view of the role the Industry plays in the development of any nation. He stressed the organisation was ready to partner with the U.S. as a way of achieving set targets.
Some of the achievements recorded by the present NPA management, according to him, include the enforcement of its powers as port regulator and enhancement of port security.
He said new seaports were being developed across the country. He listed the new port projects as the Lekki deep seaport, Akwa Ibom deep seaport, Olokola port and Badagry deep seaport.
The new seaports, he said, were meant to boost import and export trade in the country.
The U.S. Consul General promised to assist the Nigerian government through NPA in areas such as capacity building and training to help it maintain its leadership position in Africa.
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