Nigerian businesses will see shorter processing times for import and export activities in the coming days as the Nigerian Customs establishes a new command at the Quits Aviation Services Free Trade Zone (FTZ) centre.
Quits Aviation is an authorized service centre for business jet manufacturers, performing maintenance on several aircraft types up to the D-check level. Quits Aviation FTZ is home to businesses such as ExecuJet Aviation Nigeria, FZE, Legend Hotel, and Anap Jets, among others.
Speaking at the commissioning, Sam Iwuajoku, the chairman and chief executive officer of Quits Aviation Services Limited, stated that bureaucracy remains one of the major challenges faced by businesses utilising the terminals.
Iwajoku said that the new office would ease the processing of any import documents, as opposed to going to Ibeju-Lekki, where the headquarters are located, which is normally a day trip and at the end of the day, the documents are not processed on time.
This means that all the free trade zone companies within the airport will process those documents through the Quit aviation Free Trade Zone command.
“Before now, when we have goods, and the bill of laden comes in, we usually write to Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), and NEPZA then writes to the MMA Customs command,” Iwajoku said.
“On getting there, knowing the bureaucracy challenge in the country, something that is supposed to take one hour or even 30 minutes to process, you discover that it will take a day or four days,” Iwajoku said.
Yisa Omogbehin, Controller of the FTZ, congratulated the company and noted that this is a huge one and a plus to the country to facilitate trade faster and help showcase the country to the World.
“We are glad that we have a free trade zone here. Our vision is to facilitate trade in Nigeria, and we believe this will help us achieve it going forward.” Omogbehin said.
Quits aviation, which primarily deals with aircraft spare parts which are urgent, by putting a command there, it eliminates all red tape.
“We deal majorly with spare parts for aircraft that are on the ground, those parts are needed urgently. With the command here, it expedites our processing and results and everything. This is a very welcome development for us and Nigeria at large,” Iwajoku said.
Iwajoku noted that the delays are majorly caused by human factors, which leads to huge losses.
“This delay creates huge losses for us as well as companies that want to move their goods. Sometimes the delay causes damage to perishable goods. The major problems we have at the ports of both Tincan ports are caused by human factors.
“I do not see any reason why a container will arrive in Nigeria’s ports and the Customs will inspect the goods and conclude every necessity, and when it gets out of the port, another unit of customs will stop it and start another inspection.
“When you go to some countries, something that is supposed to take 30 minutes, takes days in Nigeria. It is discouraging and that is why in Nigeria we are losing investors, they rather go to Ghana where they will not get all this ‘red tape’. In Nigeria, we are causing ourselves problems.
“These are the challenges we have in the country, and all this adds to the cost of doing business here.
“Setting up a Customs command here cuts off all this ‘red tape’, so we will no longer experience those issues.
“With the recent launch, the new custom office facilities are just to enhance trade and to drop the time lag between goods, connectivity has been done to connect to the major server that connects to the customs server. So the Quit official Free Trade Zone has a full custom Free Trade Zone command in it, which is not only for Quits but for all enterprises and there’s a free trade zone within the airport area,” Iwajoku said.
“The turnaround time is going to be completed under a day compared to how it was before, except if the Nigeria factor doesn’t have a hand to play in it,” Iwajoku said.
Iwajoku noted that the government has a good initiative by creating a free trade zone, and with this recent development, it will create more employment.
“The government has a good initiative by creating a free trade zone, It will reduce time and save the government. With this nobody needs to go overseas, and nobody goes to the government for dollars, those are the incentives plus the employment it creates.
We’re interested in capacity, which means that more hands will be employed,” Iwajoku said.