New Telegraph

Single Window: Nigeria ets 2024 deadline to commence process for shipping

Nigeria and other ports have been given till January 1, 2024 to operate Maritime Single Window (MSW) for the exchange of information required on ships arrival, stay and departure in all the ports.

The Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) project is a collaboration between the International Maritime Organisation and Singapore.
At the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping (NCS) October 2023 breakfast meeting with the theme: “Maritime Single Window: Navigating Path to Efficiency and Competence,” the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, noted that a robust implementation of the MSW would put the country’s maritime sector at the forefront of regional and continental trade.

He added that the MSW regime would make the country’s ports more efficient and competitive.
Bello-Koko, represented by Mr Charles Okaga, Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex, explained that the implementation would create a significant leap in the country’s ranking on the global index of Ease of Doing Business.

According to him, the Federal Government must provided the needed infrastructure to support the MSW system, stressing that government must train and support stakeholders on how to use the MSW system through workshops, webinars and online resources.

He said: “There is the need to develop a communication plan to keep stakeholders informed about the progress of the MSW implementation and how to use the system, which can be done through social media, and traditional media outlets.

“Government should sustain the current practice of electronic payments for businesses and government transactions. This will help to reduce corruption and fraud and make it easier for businesses to comply with the MSW requirements.”

Bello-Koko stressed the need to identify and address any gap through surveys, focus groups and other data collection methods.

Also, the Controller in charge of Tincan Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Dera Nnadi explained that in adopting the MSW system, Nigeria must take cognisance of peculiarity in port administration.

Nnadi noted that the country must adopt a system that suits its environment due to mistrust and limited capacity.

Nnadi said: “One of the important thing to address before adopting the MSW is separating regulation from revenue collection. The many sprinter groups we have dwell more on revenue generation than regulating.”

He said that the NCS was ready for the MSW regime, following its transition from the Automated Systems for Customs Data to Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System 1 and 11 and the trade modernisation project.

Also, the Director, Consumers Affairs, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr Cajetan Agu stressed that the MSW system was long overdue, stressing the the need for the political will to make it work.

According to him, the purpose of single window was to remove human to human contact.

Agu explained that the challenges inhibiting its adoption must be tackled before it comes on board, saying there was need to ensure that the port access road was accessible, scanners were used and improvement in multi-modal means of cargo evacuation.

A former Director, Commercial Shipping, NSC, Mrs Dabney Shall-Holma, also expressed concerns over lack of an enabling law to back sharing of data.

Shall-Holma called on the National Assembly to address the issue urgently, noting that a lot of cybercrime and insecurity occurs online and the need for a legal instrument.

She said: “In single window, we are scaling to create the share value for all and so we need trading and capacity development and policy focus.

“Unless we get to that, every other weak link will not be added, as we cannot bring in anybody that will tamper with the process and infiltrate the integrity of the system.”

The President of chamber of shipping, Alhaji Aminu Umar, also called for the active participation of all stakeholders in the industry for successful implementation of the MSW system, noting that the MSW would facilitate seamless operations, ensure transparent maritime environment, foster customs clearance and increase the country’s competitiveness in global trade.

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