The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said the failure of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to connect to the National Single Window, a cross-government website for trade facilitation, is hindering the effective operation at the seaports.
Amaechi made this declaration in Lagos at the inauguration of a marine operation and surveillance centre at the Nigerian Ports Authority.
He said, “The Comptroller General of Customs has to agree for the Customs to be connected to the NSW to make our ports more effective. All we are doing now is manual; it will not last for long.
“Very soon, Nigerians will protest against the ports. People are already importing through the Benin Republic. Everyone has a single window. Niger that used to import things through Nigeria is doing so through another country. This is because we are charging both official and unofficial fees. Goods in Nigeria are too expensive.”
The NSW offers a single portal for all trade actors to access a full range of resources and standardised services from different Nigerian government agencies.
Amaechi, who expressed his pleasure at the current port operational system, noted that the development of the the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence System facility began in 2013.
He said the aim was to provide business intelligence for the movement of vessels and cargoes, as well as providing secured communications within our waterways.
“This is one of the positive responses to the dynamics of port modernisation. The infrastructure comprises long and short range video surveillance monitoring systems, which are in line with the International Maritime Organisation conventions for the safety of life at sea.
“The development and installation of the CCCIS by the NPA will in no small way promote the rating of our ports by the IMO,” Amaechi added.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Usman, said the CCCIS had been developed to cover maritime activities in the six ports and four pilotage districts.
She said, “This project will incorporate other port automotive devices like the Vessel Traffic System and the Integrated Port Community Information System.
“The ultimate goal is to establish an automated single window system for the maritime industry. It will enable us to surmount security and safety challenges within our operations and the entire maritime domain in the Gulf of Guinea.”
Usman added that the NPA would in the future ensure collaboration amongst relevant agencies such as the Customs and the Nigerian Navy for the purpose of sharing information, documentation, as well as blocking revenue leakages.