Single window will fast track cargo clearance – Says NPA boss
By Udeme Clement
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman has said that a functional Single Window platform for all agencies operating in the nation’s ports would fast track cargo clearance, in order to enhance trade facilitation in line with global standard.
The NPA boss made this known while delivering a lecture with the title, ‘Driving the Change Agenda through Freight Forwarding’, at the 68th birthday of the former National President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent, ANCLA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, in Lagos.
She pointed out, “NPA should not be solely blamed for lapses in cargo clearance in the ports. The reality is that, it takes more than NPA to see cargo out of the ports. There is the need to get all agencies under a Single Window platform. NPA is under-taking this to achieve speedy cargo clearance from the seaports”.
On the role of NPA, she pointed out, “Overtime, there has been misconception about the role of NPA in port industry. I wish to state clearly that in the current concession regime, cargo operation has been ceded to terminal operators while residual operations still reside with the Port Authority. These include security, pilotage, fire service and maintenance of common user areas. Therefore, since cargo handling has been ceded to terminal operators, freight forwarders would find themselves interfacing with one another to clear goods”.
Usman added, “It is therefore imperative for freight forwarders in the maritime industry to embrace the change agenda of the government through improvement in capacity building, which would enable them practice their profession in line with international best standard. This implies that freight forwarders must play effective role in Ports operations, as customers now desire services that are reliable and flexible at all times.
“Also, NPA has taken some steps aimed at improving freight forwarding in the country, in line with the ‘Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business’, with the target of meeting expectations of World Bank on trade facilitation. Such steps are, launching of the provisional, final billing and customer portal module of Revenue Invoice Management System. These aimed at ensuring efficient service delivery, partner relationship, as well as maximum revenue generation to enhance economic growth and development”.
The NPA boss calls for cooperation by stakeholders in the sector, particularly those involved in cargo clearing from the ports, to play their roles effectively for greater productivity in the sector.