CILT demands establishment of National Single Window to facilitate trade

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…Seeks review of Ease of Doing Business policy

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria has said that it is its expectation that the federal government should work to entrench flexibility in the entire logistics chains in the year 2020.

This, it said could be done especially in the maritime industry by having a centralize system of clearing goods otherwise known as the National Single Window (NSW).

The National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe who stated this in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos recently noted that if government agencies could warehouse this such that all the parties involved both Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and all other agencies could have an integrated system as against the current practice where they have various windows and levels of access, so that it becomes once an entry was made, all the relevant agencies would have access to it.

“If that is done, it will reduce the transaction time of cargo clearing and it will be more open and transparent”, he said.

Ndibe argued that the impact of the Ease of Doing Business policy of the federal government had not been felt particularly in the maritime sector even as he observed that the policy has succeeded to some extent in the aviation sector in terms of Visa on Arrival policy of the government.

He said, “So, there should be a way of reviewing the process particularly in the maritime sector in such a way that one can actually predict the duration from shore to destination because there are clear evidence that it could cost more to freight a container from here to Cotonou, it will be more than import a container from UK to Lagos because of logistics problem. Those logistics problems need to be identified and streamlined. Part of streamlining it is having this warehousing of narration and then simplifying the operation for the purposes of clearing and then making the path, that is the road way of the railway clear so that these things can move. If they do that, it will alleviate some of the problems and drive down both transaction cost and even the price of the commodities in the market.”

The National Executive Director maintained that government should expand its scope and reach in terms of preparation for the takeoff of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement adding that no country was waiting for the other and that the success of any country in gaining advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement depended on how it was able to resolve and simplify its processes while saying “the simpler your processes, the more advantage you have.”

While pointing out that the physical distribution system in Nigeria was still poor basically on account of poor road network, he quickly added that government should pay attention to all access to the ports, either it expand them or do something in a way that trucks going to the ports would have a particular destination it would take.

“It can’t be a dedicated lane because the road network like I mentioned is already small, it may not be necessary for us to have a dedicated lane but having it in such a way that from far off, all trucks, maybe, 70 kilometers to the port must have a clearance indicating the healthiness of the truck so that it doesn’t break down before getting to the port or break down while in the port. So, there must be something to say that this truck that is really going can make it to the Wharf and out.

“Also, government can use all the transport associations so that they can form a quasi-cooperative in which case if 100 trucks are required in the port, to take goods from ENL, those 100 trucks will be admitted. If while these 100 trucks are going to ENL, ABTL requires 30, that will be 130 trucks, irrespective of which terminal, the first to arrive is to go to the terminal that is ready to load. In that case they could have something like a cooperative within themselves that if on a given day the port requires 200 trucks, that cooperative is to provide that 200 trucks and they can go to any of the terminals that require their services not necessarily Dangote truck that might be 200 meters away struggling to overtake the other trucks in order to go to Dangote terminal to pick up cargo. Those things will bring about confusion on the road and longer dwell time of the trucks.

“So, in order to avoid all these confusion, there should be a way of providing for the needs of the port and having trucks, maybe some kilometers to the port to have a park or a ticket to proceed and once they proceed, there is a space and cargo for them to lift so that there will be no waiting time along the road and this can be achieved if the truck transit parks are functional so that the nearest truck transit park to the port will be where these tickets can be issued by that time, the facilities would have been ready, they would have examined the trucks to ensure that once it leaves there, it can make it to the port and back.

“There could also be arrangement that trucks sending in empty containers would irrespective of where they are dropping the containers, as they are leaving, they pick up cargo. They can have it in such a way that they can balance off cargo irrespective of the owner for this journey made so that they reduce the use of specific trucks for specific terminals that will bring confusion both in the wharf and on the road. They can get a consultant, they can get the institute (CILT) to look into that and reshape that to give them an order that they may follow. That may help”,he submitted.

Photo: National Executive Director, CILT Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ndibe.

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