The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA) have endorsed plans by the concessionaire of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Aulic Group of Companies in collaboration with the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Customs Command to establish the Nigeria Export Trade Hub (NETH) at the Lagos Trade Fair Complex.
NACCIMA gave the endorsement when its national President, Dr. Bassey Edem led a delegation to visit the proposed site for the project, off Badagry Expressway, Lagos.
Edem said the NETH project will help Nigeria salvage the current economic crisis, acknowledging that the project was in sync with the association’s goals for Nigeria.
He said a trade hub was strategic in providing the ideal export environment as well as the concept and infrastructure that would ensure that Nigerian manufacturers have the market access to market their goods.
According to him, “This project makes it much easier for the companies who are setting-up their businesses for export purposes.
We can have them around and it would be easier for them to export their goods. Once this seamless process is guaranteed, the tendency is that the producers of raw materials from the farms and mines would produce more as a result of the increased demand. At the moment this place looks like a ghost-town but in two or three years it should be beehive of activities.”
The NACCIMA boss also added that the project would provide massive jobs and also ensure that the businesses and other primary producers thrive.
On his part, the Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal, T.B Aber said he was the visioner of the project, stressing that the aim was to increase the NCS’s revenue via export duty.
Aber noted that the mandate he received from the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) to reform the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command was what led him to think of new ways of increasing the revenue generated from the command.
He said: “All sectors of the Nigerian economy would grow with the developments of projects such as NETH. Most of the problems we have in this country are because our business processes are not being transparent and people get scared in getting into import and export.
“Nigerians have suffered so much especially in export to such an extent that people have neglected it but this is the key to transforming the nation’s economy. The new Customs management under Ali has encouraged us to do all we can to ensure that export thrives so that we can earn foreign exchange via exports.
“This area is about 322 hectares of land, this is vast and we are going to manage not only the agriculture but also agro-allied exports, solid minerals processing, semi-manufactured products, etc. and Nigeria’s revenue would increase even as we become a preferred environment for business.”
Chairman of Aulic Group, Prof Nick Ezeh said the project promises to make more Nigerians billionaires as a result of the business opportunities that would accompany it.
Specifically he said: “This is going to create diverse opportunities that would take the youths off the streets, open Nigeria to the international market, and enhance the nation’s manufacturing and packaging capacity. With the Nigeria Export Trade Hub project, we are reiterating the fact that Nigeria has to first produce, manufacture and export.”
Ezeh added the first thing is to produce, “then add value before you export and generate revenue. This is strategic to revive the nation’s economy and balance its level of import and export.”