*By LOD Onyeji
In a significant move to boost Nigeria’s export economy, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has outlined its pivotal role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods across borders. This development underscores the NCS’s commitment to facilitating export trade, as expressed by the Customs Area Controller of Lilypond Export Command, Comptroller Ajibola Odusanya.
In an exclusive interview with NCBN correspondent on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, Comptroller Ajibola Odusanya detailed the NCS procedures involved in facilitating export trade. He emphasized that the current government policy in Nigeria mandates zero duty payment for exports, except in special cases where imported goods are being re-exported, in which case a 2.5 percent levy on the current value is applied with the government’s permission.
Comptroller Odusanya provided a data analysis of the Command’s export activities over the last year, stating that from January to the end of September 2023, the Command had facilitated the export of 12,438 containers. This included 6,524 20-foot containers and 5,914 40-foot containers, with a total Free On Board (FOB) value of $518,690,852.93. These exports encompassed a wide range of products, including agricultural produce, locally manufactured goods, solid minerals, and other miscellaneous commodities.
While the NCS is efficient in processing export documentation, stakeholders within the export terminal have highlighted the need for increased manpower from other government agencies stationed at the terminal to expedite the clearance process. Comrade Augustine Umunnakwe, the Maritime Union Chairman for Lilypond export terminal-Unit, praised Customs Officers for their efficiency but expressed concerns about a lack of manpower from shipping companies, affecting the efficiency of clearance processes.
Abdulsalam Babatunde, the Head of Processing at Diamond Star Port and Terminal Limited, emphasized the strong collaboration between export processing terminals, shipping lines, and government agencies. He underlined the meticulous checks and balances in place to ensure that only items released by customs are exported.
Emmanuel Ekle, the Principal Trade Promotion Officer at Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Southwest, revealed that the registration process for exporters is seamless and conducted online. He also pointed out that the NEPC supports trade promotion activities and administers export incentives and expansion grants.
The NCS’s commitment to facilitating exports and streamlining procedures is poised to enhance Nigeria’s position in the global market, promoting economic growth and trade opportunities. Stakeholders and government agencies continue to work together to further streamline export processes and boost the nation’s export industry.