The full automation of port processes may have commenced in earnest as the Federal government has concluded arrangement to kick start the much-touted Single window project and deployment of scanners at the Nigerian Ports.
This cheering news was broken by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo when he appeared at an investigative hearing on the incessant influx of fake, substandard and counterfeit products into the country.
The event was organized by the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Commerce; Industry; Information; National Orientation; Ethics and Values.
The Minister disclosed that there is an implementation committee at work to ensure the single window and scanners are deployed appropriately.
According to him, “this will significantly improve cargo turnaround time at our ports, promote efficiency and transparency, thereby removing the corruption opportunities that fuel the entry of substandard goods into the country thereby enhancing Nigerian ports’ competitiveness in the West African region.”
The commencement of the single window project and deployment of scanning technology will effectively launch Nigerian ports into the league of nations whose ports operations are driven by cutting -edge technology.
This will also enhance port efficiency and competitive port services.
Nigeria is the only country in West Africa that is yet to commence the single window project, a development that has stalled full automation of port processes in the country.
The Federal government decision to embrace full automation is in fulfilment of Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s call for automation of port operations for optimum efficiency.
Earlier in his remarks at the opening of the hearing, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by the Minority Leader at the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndidi Elumelu, commended the effort of the Joint Committee and expressed hope that the hearing will be a step towards putting an end to the influx of fake counterfeited products into Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Hon. Olufemi Fakeye stated that the hearing “will address the challenges of eradicating imported counterfeit products, particularly in view of Nigeria’s commitment to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
With the Single Window, port community portal and functional scanners at the ports, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, who was represented, said PEBEC aims to ensure that only the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority and Nigerian Police Force will be at Nigeria’s seaports as there would be no need for routine physical examination of cargo by additional agencies at the ports.
Dr. Oduwole said the decision to streamline the operations of agencies at the port was first implemented by the previous administration in 2011, and again reinforced in 2018.
Dr. Oduwole said streamlining agencies’ operations at the port is at the core of Nigeria’s ease of doing business reforms and in line with global best practices aimed at removing bureaucratic constraints and reducing costs to doing business at the ports.
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