By James Emejo
The federal government has directed the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) to fully resume its export certification duties at all ports with immediate effect.
The Director General of the agency, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, said: “Export of agricultural produce will soon pick up and gather pace as a result.
”The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has also issued a consequential whole-of-government directive instructing ministries, departments and agencies as well as state governments to cooperate with NAQS to enable a well choreographed restoration of export traffic for the benefit of all Nigerians.”
The directive came amid efforts by the government to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic which had put a huge strain on its revenue and cripple virtually all economic activities in the country.
In a statement issued Friday by Head, Communications and Strategies, NAQS, Dr. Gozie Nwodo, Isegbe further disclosed that the federal government had granted the agency authorisation to make agro-export work again because of the manifest need to free all functions related to agricultural export on both the public and private sectors side from any encumbrance.
He added that following the federal government’s directive, producer and transit state governments were expected to grant the right to free passage to the consignments along efficient corridors that have been mapped by NAQS under a best logistics-support arrangement.
He also called on all relevant entities in the agricultural export environment to play their respective roles to foster the return of business to normal pace.
The NAQS boss further noted that agricultural export accounted for the lion’s share of the country’s non-oil exports, adding that it has become “more critical for Nigerian agricultural export to stand to its full height as one of the twin pillars of the Nigerian economy”, following the drastic slump in global oil prices and spike in job losses.
He said as a responsible public service provider, NAQS has creatively adapted to the challenge of the current context, adding that the agency will balance the consideration of professional protocols and adherence to all recommended Covid-19 safety precautions in the discharge of its statutory mandate of inspection and certification of agricultural products.
The statement added that the agencies including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Aviation Handling Company PLC (NAHCO Aviance), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), the Nigerian Police and other security agencies are now under obligation to work in concert with NAQS and stakeholders to reanimate agricultural export in the country.