Customs decries poor infrastructure on ease of business mandate
Nigeria Customs Service has lamented that the Presidential mandate on the ease of doing business does not look at the basic infrastructural deficiency that is affecting ease of doing business at the port.
Comptroller-General of Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), who disclosed this at the 18th International Chamber of Commerce of Nigeria, (ICCN) post annual luncheon/round table talk on “Trade Facilitation Agreement”, in Lagos, noted that infrastructure has remained a key factor to trade and ease of doing business.
He stressed that the expansion of trade has gone beyond the traditional mandate of regulatory agencies throwing up its own challenges.Customs role, he noted have gone beyond revenue collection to include management of trade, cross border security and environmental protection.
According to him, the challenges of 21st Century are placing massive demand for modernisation on Customs Administration and most importantly collaboration with relevant stakeholders both locally and internationally in other to achieve these objectives.
Alli, who was represented by the Head of Enforcement and Compliance at Tincan Island Port, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Dera Nnadi said the service is continually engaging ICC in Nigeria and at WCO and WTO level as one of the tools for consolidation of the mission.
He commended that organisers for the choice of the topic saying , it coincides with stakeholder’s coalition to ensure effective implementation of Trade and commerce will remain at the centre of our national discourse, the sub-region and the world.
The Customs boss also stressed that globalization and explosion in communication, management of trade has direct correlation with a nation’s political, economic and environmental security and by extension regional and world security too. Thus, NCS is conscious of her obligation to use trade as effective tool for economic growth.
To facilitate trades, he said goods are now moved from ports to off-dock terminals and inland container depots, while Customs operations are almost paperless thereby making electronic copies acceptable.Other measures put in place to facilitate trade in the port, he said include the Single Window platform domiciled in Customs and a robust Pre-Shipment documentation.
In his remarks, the Chairman, ICC Nigeria & Regional Coordinator, Sub Saharan Africa, Babatunde Savage, noted the great uncertainties about the direction of global trade policy, saying sentiments of economic nationalism are on the rise and the political compact for globalisation is challenged in many countries.
Governments all across the world, he said, have become more innovative in protecting domestic business against competition from abroad. According to him, it should not come as a surprise that the contribution of trade to labour productivity growth has weakened substantially over the past decade or two as the engine of trade liberalisation stalled.
Despite the challenging operating environment and change in the structure of the business in 2016, Savage said a lot of progress were made through commitment of the Leadership and members of the Chamber which brought value and impact on our nation.He urged members to maximize existing business opportunities with commitment to a sustainable business through investment, collaboration and partnership.