Stakeholders have identified multiplicity of regulatory agencies, cumbersome documentation process, poor import infrastructure, high and duplicated charges as reasons why Nigeria exports are rejected abroad.
Speaking in Lagos through its President, Lucky Awimero, the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said until agencies responsible for export are streamlined, Nigeria export would continue to be rejected abroad.
The agencies responsible for exportation in Nigeria include pre-Shipment Inspection of Export Agents, Federal Department of Forestry, Federal Produce Inspection Service and the Plant Quarantine Service.
He said, “The duplication of the four agencies needs to be streamlined, as it constitutes serious bottleneck due to lengthy and cumbersome process and cost, which resulted to associated delays, that necessitated the movement of our products to neighboring West African ports and the rejection of our products in international markets.”
He continued, “the duplicated Shipping Line and Terminal Charges (THC)(TDC) that are not tied to service should be streamlined, including the lengthy and cumbersome procedures, to ease the burden of delays and high cost of shipping.”
Amiwero who also complained over the collapse of scanners at seaports and land borders across the country said the collapse had led to increase in cost of doing business.
“The collapsed scanners at the Port contributes to laborious and costly inspection, manual, physical inspection, with limitation and double handing to terminal operator, the Customs officers and the Licensed Customs Agent who are at risk of unwholesome importation, are part of the problem.
“Others are malfunctioning scanners. Scanners are installed as security and facilitating tools , contracted under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer basis (BOOT) from 2006 to 2013 and the Transfer process was meant to address the state of collapse, which has attracted extra cost to Licensed Custom Agents/Importers. The state now constitutes a serious threat to the Customs officers who are compelled to conduct physical examination in contravention of international standards.
“Scanners are essential tools to aid trading across borders and reduce the illicit cross border movement of unwholesome goods, which is prevalent today in our ports and border station.”
He however advised that the scanners should be repaired in line with recommendations of the committee setup by government.
“The scanners should be repaired in line with the recommendation of Transition Implementation Committee.”
Speaking on duplication of charges by shipping companies and terminal operators, the NCMDLCA boss said shipping companies and terminal operators charges on storage contravenes the Customs and Excise Management (CEMA) Act.
“Shipping companies and terminal operators’ charges on storage contravenes sections 20, 31 and 97 of the Customs and Excise Management Act that limit the days for rent charges and conferred authority to Nigeria Customs to charge rent after specific days by the Board.
“Duplication of charges such as terminal delivery charges/ terminal handling charges, deposit repayment delays and clumsy processes contribute to the challenge”, he said.