• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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FG targets $2.7bn annual revenue from seamless port operations

Tinubu to commission new Apapa, Tincan Island roads, Saturday

… as Tinubu unveils national single window project

The Federal Government hopes to attract about $2.7bn annually from paperless port operations alone, as President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, inaugurated the National Single Window project to facilitate import and export business across Nigerian ports.

The paperless trade initiative is expected to, among other things, address the issues of bureaucracy, delays, corruption in import and export business, prevent revenue leakage and facilitate effective trade bureaucracy at the nation’s ports.

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Inaugurating the National Single Window Project, Tuesday in Abuja, Tinubu said, “Nigeria cannot afford to lose an estimated $4 billion annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports.”

“The benefits of this initiative are immense. The paperless trade alone is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7 billion.”

He disclosed that countries like Singapore, Korea Kenya and Saudi Arabia have significantly improved trade efficiency after implementing Single Window Systems.

The president charged the team to dismantle all block webs, working against effective trade at the ports.

“I will be ready to listen to conversations, your discoveries, to any problem-solving areas that will make the single window a big success. You are building a legacy and a country that is yours, mine and future generations to benefit from. You have this great opportunity; it’s a bold endeavour that will etch your names in gold.

“It is time for Nigeria to join their ranks and reap the reward of a streamlined, decentralised trade process. We cannot afford to lose an estimated 4 billion in US dollars annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports.”

The president, who described the policy as “a bold statement of commitment to progress, prosperity, and the wellbeing of every Nigerian”, added: “As your president, I’ve always believed in the immense potential of our great nation. We are a people blessed with resilience, creativity, and an unwavering spirit of enterprise.

He noted that Nigeria’s economy had been hindered far too long, “by the complexities and inefficiencies in our trade processes” adding that “Today, we say that should be no more.”

The national single window is regarded as a game-changer that will revolutionise the way Nigeria conducts trade. It is expected to simplify government trade compliance through a digital platform, to unlock the doors to economic prosperity and all other opportunities.

The initiative is also expected to ease activities at the ports, government agencies and key stakeholders, creating a seamless and efficient system that will facilitate trade.

Tinubu charged members of the team to “imagine a Nigeria where business can save time and resources, where small enterprises can reach global markets and where the informal e-commerce sector is brought into the fold increasing our tax base. This is the Nigeria we are building with the national single window.”

According to him, the initiative will address these issues, prevent revenue leakage and facilitate effective trade. By doing so, we will create a more transparent, secure and business-friendly environment that will attract investment and spur economic growth.

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Tinubu noted that the implementation of the national single window would not be an overnight process, adding, “It will require dedication, collaboration and a phased approach. But I assure you, my fellow brothers and sisters, that we are fully committed to seeing this project through.

“The national single window is not just about Nigeria, by linking our system with those of other African nations, we will expedite cargo movement and optimise inter-Africa trade. This initiative is a testament to our commitment to regional integration and collaboration,” Tinubu said.

Mohammed Koko, managing director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, while speaking on the project, said the target was to achieve a 24-hour clearance at the ports.

“Of course, we know what is obtainable in neighbouring countries. It’s 72 to 48, but the target is 24 hours. As for the number of forms, if you are filling 20, 30, 40 printed forms and now digitally you’re filling a form that has 2, 3, 4 pages. You can see where we’re working towards,” he said.