Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo

Efforts by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to install the country’s National Single Window platform and deploy scanners at the nation’s seaports in order to enhance efficiency and competitiveness seem to be yielding good results.

This indication was given Monday in Abuja by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, when he spoke at an investigative hearing on the incessant influx of fake, substandard and counterfeit products into the country. The event was organised by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Commerce; Industry; Information; National Orientation; Ethics and Values. 

According to the Minister, the Federal Government had since instituted an implementation committee to ensure that the nation’s Single Window platform and scanners were deployed appropriately at the seaports on or before the end of 4th quarter of 2020.

“This will significantly improve ship turnaround time and cargo dwell time at our seaports, promote efficiency and transparency, thereby removing the corruption opportunities that fuel the entry of substandard goods into the country, and in the long run, enhance Nigeria’s ports’ competitiveness in the West African sub- region”, the Minister said.

Meanwhile, in his earlier remarks at the opening of the event, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, commended the efforts of the Joint Committee and expressed hope that the hearing will be a step towards putting an end to the influx of fake counterfeited products into Nigeria.

Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Olufemi Fakeye, while speaking at the hearing, stated that the combination of the scanners and the Single Window platform “will address the challenges of eradicating imported counterfeit products, particularly in view of Nigeria’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement ACfTA.

Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, (represented), said with the Single Window port community portal and functional scanners at the ports delays in cargo release and influx of fake and substandard goods into the country would be a thing of the past.

She also disclosed that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council PEBEC aims to ensure that only the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigeria Police will be at the nation’s seaports as there would be no need for routine physical examination of cargo by additional agencies at the ports.

Dr. Oduwole said the decision to streamline the operations of agencies at the port was first implemented by the previous administration in 2011, and again reinforced in 2018.

“Streamlining operations of the agencies at the port is at the core of Nigeria’s ease of doing business reforms and in line with global best practices, aimed at removing bureaucratic constraints and reducing cost of doing business at the ports”, she also said.