The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) last week identified the lack of respect to the rules of engagement in all aspects of the national life as the bane of the nation’s trade environment.
Speaking at the 2nd Global Trade Compliance Summit held in Lagos by the Multimix Academy between the 21st and 22nd of May, 2014, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council,
Barr. Hassan Bello noted that trade compliance was very important to every business, establishment as well as to every government regulatory agency.
Bello who was represented at the 2-day event by an Assistant Director in the Council, Winner Anayo stated that while the businessman was expected to comply to the regulations guiding trade transactions, government agencies were also expected to show some compliance in executing their jobs.
According to him,” trade compliance is very important to every business, to every establishment and to every regulatory agency. It is not only the businessman that needs to comply, the regulatory agencies equally need to comply. If we don’t comply, there are problems in the chain”.
He observed that if business agency refuses to comply, it risks suffering losses and may go bankrupt adding that the same would be the case for the regulatory agency, which fails to comply as public opinion in that case would rise against such an agency thus the reason why many well established agencies could no longer be seen today.
The NSC boss recalled that in the past, most regulatory agencies which prided themselves as larger than life because of their perception as having overgrown public criticism could not be found today owing to their abuse of compliance and the rules of engagement.
He pointed out that officers in any government regulatory agency should realize that the agency was set up to provide services to the people and that the people are watching adding that the moment they could not live up to expectations, the people would rise against them.
Bello who is also the Chief Executive Officer of NSC declared that although life could be said to be freedom of choices and a matter of sowing and reaping, however, it is what one sowed that he is going to reap urging the now generation to lay a solid foundation for the generation unborn to live comfortably even as he concluded that trade compliance is what is needed in the world today.
Also speaking, the Director General, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), John Isemede said that what make businesses, whether local or international to succeed is strict compliance to the regulations and rules of engagement.
Isemede observed that most of the Nigerian export to the global trading community fall short of standards because of the inability of the regulatory agencies in the country to live up to expectations to enforce standards and certification of produce before export.
He regretted that non-compliance to exports standards has robbed the country of its fair share of the global market pointing out that while exporters of cashew nuts in the country are shortchanged than their counterparts from other parts of the world because of non-compliance to set standards.
The NACCIMA DG lamented that Africa was signatory to many trades agreements with the West which according to him instead of encouraging the growth of the African economy ended up empowering the economy of the West all the more at the expense of the continent.
He said,” we have all sorts of agreements we signed with the West. AGOA is not for us, it is just to take our produce, LOME convention is for the European Union, EPA is not for us and when we don’t have equal share and the rules of engagement, we continue to work for the Western world”.
He therefore advised that time has come for Nigerians and indeed Africans to take their destiny in their hands by churning out middle level manpower that would drive the wheel of progress and secure a place in the world map.
On his part, the Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam identified non-compliance to the rules and regulation as the major problem in the nation’s seaports.
Aniebonam stressed that a situation where both the importers, freight forwarders as well as the government regulatory agencies engage in sharp practices for personal gains does not augur well for Nigeria and her economy.
“While we discuss this issue of perfection, I must begin to advocate that the government of this country especially through the National Assembly will begin to review the concept of give and take, that is bribery because I think that is where we are not getting it right”, he said.