Tinubu: Single Window Project to Generate $2.7bn Revenue Annually

•Says initiative will revolutionise conduct of trade in Nigeria

•Steering committee targets 24 hours for ports clearance

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has inaugurated a steering committee for the Single Window (SW) Project with a disclosure that the implementation of the initiative would generate about $2.7 billion revenue to the nation’s purse.

The SW Project is a cross-government website to facilitate trade by offering a single portal for trade actors, both Nigerian and international, to access a full range of resources and standardised services from different Nigerian agencies.

Speaking yesterday, while inaugurating the committee inside the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja, the President said the benefits of the laudable economic initiative were immense, adding that, “the paperless trade alone is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7 billion US dollars”.

He stated that, “the transformative project” will ginger the nation’s economy to new heights as it is not just a policy but “a bold statement” of the present government’s commitment to progress, prosperity, and the well-being of all Nigerians.

Stressing that the nation has immense potential having been blessed with people of resilience, creativity, and unwavering spirit of enterprise, Tinubu, however, expressed concern that, “for far too long, our economic growth has been hindered by the complexities and inefficiencies in our trade processes. Today, we say that there should be no more.”

He assured that the national single window was a game changer that would revolutionise the way trade was being conducted in the country, noting that, “by simplifying government trade compliance through a digital platform, we will unlock the doors to economic prosperity and all other opportunities.”

According to the President: “This initiative will link our ports, government agencies and key stakeholders, creating a seamless and efficient system that will facilitate trade like never before. Imagine a Nigeria where business can save time and resources, where small enterprises can reach global markets and where the informal e-commerce sector is brought into the fold increasing our tax base. This is the Nigeria we are building with the National Single window.

“Countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvement in trade efficiency after implementing Single Window Systems. It is time for Nigeria to join their ranks and reap the reward of a streamlined, decentralized trade process. We cannot afford to lose an estimated four billion in US dollars annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports.

“The National Single Window will address these issues headlong, preventing revenue leakage and facilitating effective trade. By doing so, we will create a more transparent, secure and business-friendly environment that will attract investment and spur economic growth.

“The implementation of the National Single Window will not be an overnight process, I know. It requires dedication, collaboration and a phased approach. But I assure you my fellow brothers and sisters, that we are fully committed to seeing this project through.  

“We work tirelessly to ensure its success by engaging all partner agencies and stakeholders to create a system that works for every one of us.

“Moreover, the National Single window is not just about Nigeria, by linking our system with those of other African nations, we will expedite cargo movement and optimise inter-Africa trade. This initiative is a testament to our commitment to regional integration and our belief in the power of collaboration.”

The President emphasised that the inauguration of the steering committee marked the beginning of a new era, “an era of unyielding commitment to prosperity, efficiency and endless possibilities. The national single window is not just a project; it is a symbol of our determination to build a better future for ourselves and generations to come.”

He called on all citizens to embrace the initiative with open arms, adding: “Let us work together as one nation to make the National Single Window a resounding success.

“Let us show the world that Nigeria is ready to take its rightful place as one of the leaders in global trade. Together we will build a Nigeria that is stronger, more prosperous and more united than ever before. The national single window is our gateway to that future. And I am honored to lead us on this transformative journey, I assure you.”

Tinubu charged the committee to get rid of any obstacles in their way even as he expressed readiness to listen to ideas to make it a success.

His words: “Dismantle all block webs along your way. I will be ready to listen to conversations, your discoveries, to any problem solving areas that will make the single window a big success.

“You are building a legacy and a country that is yours, mine and future generations to benefit from. You have this great opportunity. It’s a bold endeavor that will etch your names in gold.”

Also speaking, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr Zacch Adedeji, said implementation of the National Single Window Project was expected to generate an average GDP growth rate of seven per cent annually.

Adedeji, who described the project as more than just a technological advancement, said it was a gateway to a more connected, efficient, and transparent system that links our ports, government agencies, and key stakeholders.

According to him, “the current international trade environment is complex involving disparate system and requiring an average of 40 documents per transaction. Nigeria’s lack of a comprehensive trade facilitation system has led to bottlenecks, corruption, poor delay, decreased revenue and negative business environment.

“The National Single Window is a decisive response to these challenges. By improving trade facilitation, revenue generation economic growth, transparency, security and streamline process, we will transform Nigeria into a global trade powerhouse.

“Data harmonisation is crucial component of this initiative, enabling us to capture, define, analyse and reconcile regulatory trade document efficiently. Through the National Single Window, we will reduce clearance, times improve economic metrics, increase transparency, reduce trade costs and boost revenue.

“We will create a seamless ecosystem that will facilitate, saves time for business and open up a world of opportunity from providing access to education and healthcare, to enabling small business, to reach global market, digital connectivity is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s true potential,” he said.

Adedeji, also pointed that the high cost, delay, and inefficiency at Nigeria’s ports have been a constant burden.

“It is estimated that we lose a staggering $4 billion annually due to this inefficiency. By addressing revenue leakage prevention and facilitating effective trade, we will reclaim these lost resources and channel them towards the betterment of our society,” the FIRS boss added.

Briefing newsmen about some of the benefits of the project after the inauguration, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Bello Koko, said with the implementation of the initiative, the target was that imports would be cleared at the ports within 24 hours even though it takes 72 hours in neighbouring countries.

According to him, the initiative would drastically reduce the amount of paperwork involved in transactions for import and export as information will be shared through a unified platform among the relevant government agencies.

His words: “So, for clearance, the target is actually 24 hours. Of course, we know what is obtainable in neighbouring countries, it’s 48 to 72, but the target is actually 24 hours.

“As for the number of forms, if you were filling 20, 30, 40 printed forms and now, digitally you’re filling a form that has 2, 3, 4 pages. You can see where we’re working towards.

“Let me give you an example. You fill in a form that has information that probably Customs, you’re bringing a product. What Customs is interested in is the type, the year of manufacture and so on and so forth, but they also need the MF number, the form M number and what have you. The Nigerian Ports Authority is interested in the weight of the cargo. But you are filling different forms, with the MF back that both of us also need.

“So, we are trying to unify this information in such a way that you fill as little as possible and all related government agencies that are in the value-chain of import or export processing, should be able to pick the information they need from there.

“So, you can see the picture here. We are reducing from the current numbers. And then, the second thing is it’s not going to be printed. So, the efficiency it brings here is that you can feel it in your bedroom, your offices and shipping lines, freight forwarders, Nigerian Customs NPA, so on and so forth, should be able to process your requests, whether it’s in terms of import or export. That is the target.”

Committee members include representatives of the Federal Ministry of Finance, representative of the Marine and Blue Economy, representative of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, representative of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, representative of the federal Inland Revenue Service, representative of the Nigerian Customs service, and representative of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Others are representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, representative of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), representative of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, representative of the Nigerian Maritime Administration on Safety Agency (NIMASA), representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and representative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

Related Articles