By Eromosele Abiodun
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman has commended the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ali (rtd.), officers and men of the service for arresting three men identified as Mr. Oscar Okafor, Mahmud Hassan and Sadique Mustapha who unlawfully importation of 49 boxes containing a total number of 661 pieces of pump action rifles concealed in a container of steel doors and other merchandise goods.
She said Ali has, since his appointment as the Comptroller General of the NCS, proven that professionalism and accountability can be brought to bear in any government institution.
Bala Usman called on all Nigerians to join hands with the federal government and its agencies towards ensuring that the nation’s borders are well policed to avoid the influx of arms that will end up in the hands of terrorists, armed robbers and kidnappers.
She urged the public to volunteer useful information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of importers who wants to abuse the system and import harmful products into the country.
The NPA boss added that she is committed to her pledged to collaborate with the NCS to introduce the much-awaited Single Window (SW) platform at the ports.
Balla Usman said the two agencies have embarked on the establishment of SW through an intense automation and introduction of Standard Operative Procedure (SOP) at ports.
According to her, the adoption of SW would make Nigeria’s ports competitive in the international trade network and boost the trade facilitation programme of the government.
She added that the synergy on SW would boost government revenue and promote Public Private Participation (PPP) through the attraction of local and foreign direct investment (FDI).
Government, she also said, was aware of its responsibilities to create the enabling business environment to realise the objective.
The federal government, Usman added, was determined to make the ports efficient, safe, secure, productive and Eco-friendly practices of its operations be it logistic or financial base.
NPA and customs, she said, were the two arrow head agencies driving the logistic and financial portals on behalf of the government and that the duo have the responsibility to synergise and build up a common industry culture around the ports to achieving the right level in trade facilitation.
“The goal of trade facilitation is to help trade across borders, import and export faster, cheaper and more predictable while ensuring its safety and security. Trade facilitation focuses on simplifying and harmonizing formalities, procedures and the related exchange of information and documents between the various partners in a supply chain. Transparency, simplification, harmonization and standardisation of port operations, she added, could only be achieved by embarking on the establishment of a well articulated single window system,” she said.
She added: “I would therefore, urge us not to lose track as well as relentless commitment as to meet the target of Nigeria joining 20 other countries to be in the forefront of implementing an efficient, effective and sustainable single window in 2020.”