By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as Nigeria continues to lose not less that N1.08 trillion yearly to the non implementation of the National Single Window for the port system, indications have emerged that the country may not achieve it without a legislative instrument.
An official from the ICT Department of the apex maritime regulatory agency; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Mr Bernard Awusa stated this at a One-day Townhall Meeting organised by the League of Maritime Editors and Publishers (LOMEP) in Lagos on Thursday.
Neighbouring countries like Ghana, Togo, Senegal are all ahead of Nigeria in terms of single window implementation, while at Nigerian ports, government agencies are still working at cross purposes, all defending individual territories at the expense of port users, importers and investors.
Speaking at the event, Mr Awusa stated that for Nigeria to achieve single window for the port system, there must be a backing legislation which would overrides the existing legislation being operated by the various government agencies involved in cargo clearance at the port.
“Agencies in the Nigerian transport sector are always having that zeal to achieve single window, but most of the agencies are all working with different instruments of legislation
“At NIMASA for instance, there are some levies we normally collect from ships calling at the port which they keep complaining about.
You know that every government agency is set up to contribute in one way or the other, so as to boost maritime trade.
“If we want to achieve single window for the port system, there must be a backing legislation, for as long as we want to set up a single window system, we are all operating with our different instruments of legislation that allows us to collect the various levies that we are collecting
“So, unless we have that legislative framework that overrides the current legislation, the practice would continue until a point when government gets up and harmonise all tariffs and bring out a system for the single window.
“There should be concerted efforts in trying to bring a regulatory framework for the implementation of single window” he stated
DAILY TREND NEWS recalls that an IT expert and Chief Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Valentina Minta had been contracted to develop the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) and the National Single Window of Nigeria Customs Service.
After successfully launching the PAAR Project, Miss Minta in 2016 however said the National Single Window project could not be achieved in Nigeria because of lack of political will by the government.
She subsequently got contracted by the government of Ghana to undertake the Ghana Single Window Project (GSWP).
It is on record that since West Blue Consulting completed the GSWP, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has continued to exceed its revenue targets every year.