Export cargo leaving Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is largely rejected in the international markets especially in Europe and America due to quality concerns.
According to the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigerian economy and exporters are recording huge financial losses as over 70 percent of the food items and agricultural products exported out of Nigeria are rejected by potential buyers.
Mojisola Adeyeye, director general of NAFDAC blamed the poor export trade facilitation at the nation’s airport and seaport for the challenges faced by regulated products that are leaving the country.
BusinessDay findings show that it takes export containers over one month to have access to the seaport and make their way out of the country.
This delay, caused largely by the bottlenecks experienced by truckers lifting export containers from the exporters’ warehouses to the port, not only eats into the time the products are supposed to have left the shores of the country to its destination port but also compromises the quality of the products.
“It takes as much as one month to deliver export containers from the exporters’ warehouse to the port due to the delays experienced on the checkpoints leading to the ports in Lagos,” said Itunu Shonibare, a truck owner.
According to her, export trade is really suffering in the port, and this explains why truckers are running away from lifting export cargo.
Confirming this, Mohammed Sani, a truck owner said that export trucks are being turned back if the driver refuses to pay a bribe at checkpoints despite having valid electronic call-up tickets.
“Export goods that are meant to generate foreign exchange and ratify balance of payment deficit in Nigeria, generate employment and develop the economy is being sidelined. Rather than pass export containers, the security personnel pass ordinary empty containers. This is a huge economic sabotage that government needs to look into,” he said.
Confirming the challenges faced by export goods at the port, Soji Apampa, chief executive officer of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), said recently in Lagos that the negative impact of mounting checkpoints along the port corridor is largely affecting the port-bound cargo, especially export.
For Nigeria to begin to deal with issues of trade imbalance, Olufunmilayo Olotu, assistant general manager of tariff and billing at the Nigerian Ports Authority, said the country needs to be deliberate in its effort geared towards enhancing export trade.
“We need to work on our integrity by bringing professionalism and transparency into the things we do for the international community to stop seeing us as a country where anything goes,” she said.
She said Nigeria needs to work on its reputation deficiency because foreign nations dread export coming from Nigeria but preferred the same commodity when it comes from neighbouring West African countries.