To consummate the gains of the ongoing port reform process, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has called on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to review its border post regulations to facilitate trade.
Iheanacho Ebubeogu, general manager, Security of the NPA, who disclosed this in a statement, said the port reform was expected to go through three areas that include business model, institutional reform and infrastructural development. He added that for a total reform to be achieved, there was need for triangular Customs activities to be optimised.
This, according to him, entailed striking a balance among revenue generation, border posts regulation and trade facilitation. He also called for the review of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) to achieve effective border posts regulation.
“The revenue element had been taken care of, but we need to review the Customs laws so that the other two sides of the triangle are include border posts regulation and trade facilitation are also strengthened,” Ebubeogu said.
On port reform programme, he said NPA had done well as it had gone half way in its own reforms initiative with a focus on the passage of the Ports and Harbour Bill.
“The port as a complex wears two caps. One cap is marine logistics, which is what NPA has done. In this cap, we have the NPA, terminal operators, shipping companies and freight forwarders. So, NPA has gone half way in its own reforms. But Customs laws need to be reviewed to strike balance in the port system,” he added.
Ebubeogu, who stated the NPA never questioned the integrity of government’s tax collection or the decency of Customs’ revenue collection, said government had ensured that tax payers’ money was handled well to encourage the culture of tax payment.
“In terms of revenue, NPA has done well with Treasury Single Account (TSA) and has even gone further by coming up with various machineries which serve as dragnet to holding those who have not paid their taxes. Government has also done well with that,” he added.