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FG to deploy Single window, scanners by year end to curb influx of fake products

FG to deploy Single window, scanners by year end to curb influx of fake products

Determined to check the importation of fake and substandard products into the country in line with established protocols, the Federal Government is concluding plans to operationalise the National Single Window project as well as deploy scanners at the nation’s seaports before the end of the year.

The Single Window, a port community portal and functional scanners at the ports, would ensure that lead agencies such as Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Police Force would be brought under one platform, and there would be little or no need for routine physical examination of cargo by additional agencies at the ports.

Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, stated this on Monday at an investigative hearing on the incessant influx of fake, substandard and counterfeit products into the country, organised by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Commerce; Industry; Information; National Orientation; Ethics and Values.

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The Minister said there is an implementation committee at work, of which he is a member, to ensure the single window and scanners are deployed appropriately.

According to him, this will significantly improve cargo turnaround time at our ports, promote efficiency and transparency, thereby removing the corruption opportunities that fuel the entry of substandard goods into the country, and enhance Nigerian ports’ competitiveness in the West African region.

In the same vein, the Federal Government has called on relevant agencies to further strengthen the enforcement of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) alongside proposed PEBEC reform interventions.

Under the programme, importers of a wide range of goods must obtain two certificates in order to operate:

Product Certificate (PC), either unregistered, registered or licensed; and the SONCAP Certificate (SC).

Jumoke Oduwole, special adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, represented at the hearing by Oluwatoyin Bashir, said the action would further complement the efforts of the Buhari Administration aimed at improving efficiency at port operations.

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.

She noted that the decision was based on empirical findings and taken following extensive stakeholder engagement after some agencies had again returned to the ports.

Oduwole said streamlining agencies’ operations 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 costs to doing business at the ports.

She, however, commended the Standards Organisation of Nigeria for the phased automation of compliance certification process amongst other innovations in their operations.

Earlier in his remarks, Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by the Minority Leader at the House of Representatives, Ndidi Elumelu, commended the effort of the Joint Committee and was hopeful that the hearing will unravel the root causes of the menace of influx of counterfeited products into Nigeria.

Olufemi Fakeye, chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, stated that the hearing was vital to curbing the incidence of substandard products that has led to avoidable incidents in the country.

“The hearing will also contribute to the arduous task of addressing the challenges of eradicating imported counterfeit products, particularly in view of Nigeria’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement,” he said.