A former President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Forwarder Eugene Nweke has urged the newly promoted officers of the Nigeria Customs Service to give adequate attention to the full implementation of the Single Window in the interest of the nation.
Eugene Nweke who is also the Vice Chairman, Customs Consultative Committee, gave the advice in a statement, which he personally signed, to congratulate the officers and controllers, saying their promotion and appointment are a call to duty.
Nweke, who enumerated various challenges which have bedeviled cargo clearance operations in the nation’s seaports, said that some certain administrative policies which in reality are now consigned to the realm of counter-productive in trade administration, should be re-visited with an attitude of maximizing and achieving operational excellence.
According to Nwwke, “Let me start by stating that, your collective promotions into various higher ranks as both senior and management officers of Nigeria Customs Service are not just a proof of hardwork and dedication to work but a further demand for patriotism and prompt services to the Father’s Land.
“Without sounding undue eulogistic, may I posit here that, your promotions came at such a time in the history of national struggle towards a great republic, in addition to the global efforts to overcome the post COVID 19 pandemic challenges which placed so much pressure on the economic growth of nations. Nigeria as a developing nation is grappling with its own share of the challenges in a peculiar dimension which range from:
● Non-firm monetary policies and regulatory obligations in the face of fiscal space;
● The high cost of doing business at the port – whereby promoting inflations, lowering purchasing power of the citizens and undue hardship in the land;
● The incidences of capital flights diminishing our balance of trade performance, the persistent drug and arms trafficking – with its associated insecurity threats;
● The increasing war against the influx of counterfeited products – with its inherent threats to local manufacturing capacity;
● The trade facilitation challenges – in the face of high non compliance level on the part of the trading public; ,
● The higher yearly revenue generation targets and quest by the government – amidst global recession,etc.
“It is against this backdrop of seeming difficulties associated with our international trade and port environment that compels me to view your promotions to serve our Father land in your respective senior management ranks under the prevailing circumstances as a crucial tasks with a sense of no-business as usual. It is at this juncture, I resort to join the industry stakeholders and well wishers to congratulate all of you on your respective promotions and to draw your attention towards some salient issues such as thus: inter-agency collaboration and strategic stakeholders engagements, deployment of technology-driven initiatives in critical aspects.
“Notwithstanding the prevalence of seeming challenges within the international trade supply chain, especially within the customs ports, it is incumbent on all of you to technically, professionally and pragmatically find ways to turn the present difficulties, challenges, negative situations into a positive and productive one for the common good of all. It is not an overstatement to say that, your actions and inactions in relation to the international trade and security supply chain have both direct and indirect impacts on the over-laboured and impoverished Nigerians,” said Nweke.
He further advised the officers to encourage internal strong administrative will to promote fluidity in the cargo clearance flow. “I strongly believe that, with the adoption of the Smart Border Concept; the Installation of Rapiscan Mobile Scanners and the deployment of forensic application in trade treatments, it is no longer a necessary option patronizing a trade impediments arrangement. It is a high time to free the cargo delivery corridor from undue bottlenecks and associated delays.
“I am quite confident that, if we are committed in this regard, we can do and perform much better in facilitation of trade without compromising security and revenue objectives. Obviously, most of you have better understanding, intents and the workings of the systems audit in relation to manifest administration, hence, it suffices, that cargo alerting system should be centralized where necessary, as it were at the inception of the PAAR Regime,” he said.