• Targets 24hrs port clearance  •To cut paper work from 40 to 4 digital pages


From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has launched the National Single Window project in Nigeria, a move aimed at improving trade efficiency and boosting economic growth.

The single-window system or single-window concept is a trade facilitation concept which allows an international (cross-border) trader to submit information to a single agency.

It would reduce having to deal with multiple agencies in multiple locations to obtain the necessary papers, permits, and clearances to complete their import or export processes.

The initiative is expected to revolutionise the conduct of trade by streamlining government trade compliance through a digital platform.

The President described the project as a game changer, highlighting its potential to bring significant economic benefits.

Tinubu pledged to provide the needed conducive environment for the project to succeed in the face of the challenges, adding that he would empower the committee to break all barriers.

“The national single window is a game changer that will revolutionise the way we conduct trade by simplifying government trade compliance through a digital platform. We unlock the doors to economic prosperity, and all other opportunities.

“This initiative will link our ports, government agencies and key stakeholders by creating a seamless and efficient system that will facilitate trade like never before.

“The benefits of this initiative are immense. Paperless trade alone is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around 2.7 billion US dollars. Countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvement in trade efficiency after implementing the Single Window System,” he said.

He said it is time for Nigeria to join their ranks and reap the reward of a streamlined, decentralised trade process.

“We cannot afford to lose an estimated 4 billion in US dollars annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports.”

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At the inauguration of the project and the steering committee members at the council chambers of the Presidential villa, Abuja, Tinubu emphasised the importance of collaboration in ensuring the success of the initiative.

Mr Zacch Adedeji, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and chairman of the Steering Committee, said Nigeria stands to gain more than seven per cent growth of Gross Domestic Product annually from the use of the NSW.

He said that the initiative would also engender collaborative business information sharing among various stakeholders involved in the imports and export business.

“This initiative will serve as a catalyst for achieving an average GDP growth rate of 7 percent annually and propel Nigeria to new islands of prosperity. The national single window is not just a technological advancement.

“It is the gateway to a more connected, efficient and transparent system by linking our ports, government agencies and key stakeholders,” he said.

Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said that the NSW is an initiative that would align all trade documentation in one single platform for ease of doing business.

He said that the digital platform would accelerate the process of trade, ease interactions and allow relevant stakeholders to share necessary data instead of the current manual paper works.

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

Mr Bashir Adeniyi, Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said that the new initiative would improve trade security and ease doing business in the country and region.

He said that the single window was not all about realising revenue but a system of facilitating investment into the country through digital platforms accessible to all stakeholders.

“Part of the obligations of the Trade Facilitation Agreement includes the deployment of technologies. So a single window is one of those tools that signatories to the agreement undertook to deploy for them to facilitate trade. It will also help us to manage revenue but better.”

Members of the NSW steering committee are representatives of the Federal Ministries of Finance, Marine and Blue Economy, Transportation, and Industry, Trade and Investment.

Others are representatives of the federal Inland Revenue Service, NCS, Nigeria sovereign Investment Authority, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Maritime Administration on Safety Agency, NPA and the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council.