By DAPO OLAWUNI
Heads of key federal government parastatals in the maritime sector are now to start meeting quaterly to collaborate and strategise on the way forward for the sector, raising hopes that the country might soon have its National Single Window come on stream.
The Single Window is encouraged by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) among its member nations and facilitated by World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a one stop single portal where both local and international trade actors can access fast and efficient transactions.
DAILY TREND NEWS reports that it has proved difficult for Nigerian maritime sector to operate a Single Window due to deep rooted suspicions, supremacy battle among the agencies, especially the NPA and Nigeria Customs Service as to who should control the platform.
Presently, all the government agencies are locally automated, the Nigeria Customs has its own independent platform called ‘Trade Hub’ while the NPA was holding strong to its Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence System (CCCIS) while NIMASA also has its C4i Intelligence system.
The Nigerian Shippers Council also has its various platforms inluding the Port Service Support Portal, and could have succeeded in managing the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) but for federal government’s interference.
In 2010, the Federal government had contracted an expert; West Blue Consulting to drive the single window project, but the company was later frustrated out of Nigeria as a result of envy among the government agencies.
Suffices to note that West Blue Consulting later developed a single window platform for neighbouring Ghana, leaving Nigeria the only country without the single window platform.
However, there is hope at the end of the tunnel as a meeting of heads of the government Parastatals in the Maritime Sector held in Lagos on Tuesday.
It was gathered that the meeting was on collaboration and how to build synergy to improve synergy to enhance operations in the sector.
The meeting which held at the Nigerian Shippers Council is to be now take place quarterly.
While speaking at recent press briefing, Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh had hinted of the meeting. He said the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was worried about the overlapping functions of the agencies.
He also said the various platforms operated independently by the various government agencies are going to be harmonises together for better efficiency, including the Nigerian Navy.