Single Window Project: FG Has Contravened IMO, WCO, WTO Deadline—-Francis Omotosho


Frdr Francis Omotosho


Stakeholders outcry has continued to greet the exclusion of freight forwarders from the National Single Window Project Steering Committee which was inaugurated by President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday.

A frontline maritime consultant and Registrar of the NAGAFF Academy, Mr Francis Omotosho has said that the Federal Government has delayed and contravened the deadline given by three world trade regulatory organizations; International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Customs Organization (WCO) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) which had specifically given 1st of January, 2024 as deadline for all the 164 shipping and trading Countries of the World to develop and implement a National Single Widow Platform for their trading systems.

Omotosho said that unhealthy rivalry between the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has delayed successful take off of the Single Window Project in Nigeria because Customs and NPA are not ready to collapse and merge their systems.

He commended President Bola Tinubu for taking a bold step by inaugurating the steering committee, he however condemned the absence of Freight Forwarders in the committee.

“The Federal Government has again made another move in the right direction but with the skipping of the main users and players (Freight Forwarders) of the concept of single window.

“Single Window is a concept adopted under the IMO Convention of Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), WCO International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Kyoto Convention) and WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; which requires all government agencies regulating shipping and international trade logistics systems to use a Single Digital Platform to share and exchange information and also permits the traders or transporters to submit or lodge all the data, information and documents needed for determining admissibility of the Ships and Cargoes in a Standardized Format.

“The Platform is to be controlled by a Central Unified Interface Lead Agency among the Agencies and also allow the Traders to view all interactions between the Regulatory Agencies without regard for the internal divisions within the Government Regulatory Agencies; in order to acquire the necessary Documents, Permits, and Clearances for their Shipments.

“No doubt this will streamline procedures to clear the arrival, stay and departure of ships and swift cargo clearance and greatly enhance the efficiency of Nigeria Ports operations, logistics and supply chain systems.

“However, in Nigeria today, Nigeria Customs Service has its own Single Window which other Regulatory Agencies have been complaining that they cannot even see anything inside the portal through the window.

“Even if the Customs opens the door of the platform wide, they may not even see anything at all and now the Nigerian Ports Authority has started their own single window platform to achieve the same objective as stated above.

“The fact remains that Federal Government has delayed and contravened the deadline given by all these three world trade regulatory organizations (IMO, WCO, and WTO).

“It was specifically given that by 1st of January, 2024 all the 164 shipping and trading Countries of the World Should have developed and implemented a NATIONAL SINGLE WINDOW PLATFORM for their trading systems; unfortunately the Federal Ministry of Finance and Customs are not ready to collapse and merge with the NPA new robust single trade platform.

“Nigerians are waiting. I am sure the impeding consequences are huge because IMO will be waiting for Nigeria as well for any benefit without compliance with this order” Omotosho said in a statement

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