L-R: Chairman Institute of Maritime Studies, University of Lagos, Prof. Iyiola Oni, Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Nigerian Shipper's Council (NSC), Mrs Celine Ifeora, Founder of NAGAFF, Chief Boniface Aniebonam, at a Lecture to mark the 20th Anniversary of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) on Tuesday in Lagos.
·Shippers’ Council Promises To Work With FG On Single Window
The Chairman, Institute of Maritime Studies, University of Lagos(UNILAG), Professor Iyiola Oni, has said that the African Continental Freed Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will result in a cumulative Gross Domestic Product(GDP) of more than $3.4trillion.
Professor Oni said this on Tuesday while delivering a paper titled: "The African Continental Free Trade Agreement regime, and single window evolution: Implications for freight forwarders, at the 20th anniversary of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in Lagos.
Oni also said that AfCFTA has the potential to increase intra-African trade by about 52.3% by eliminating import duties, adding that it will double trade if non-tariff barriers are also reduced.
"AfCFTA will be the world's largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO)"
He however said that the agreement will create huge opportunities for the freight forwarders.
Explaining further. he said there will be a progressive increase in cargo generated which will demand services of freight forwarders.
"The agreement is expected to expand intra-African trade through improved harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments accords Africa"
Oni however reiterated that it is very imperative for all participating counties to develop capacity in their national single windows, adding that it will make the African single window operations easy.
"It will help on improving productive capacity, trade related infrastructure, trade financing amongst others. It will also encourage capacity building and professionalism in the practice"
According to him, "It will also set and implement standards and codes of operation, eradicating corruption and sharp practices. These benefits will accrue more to counties that are equipped to countries that are equipped and prepared for AfCFTA"
Oni nevertheless urged freight forwarders to be more dynamic and enlightened in line with current development.
"The freight forwarders should also acquire required knowledge and skills in ICT and international trade. Be equipped with basic tools to access trade platforms and professional operations"
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) also at the event said that it would work with Federal Government in establishing a Single Window platform for cargo clearance at the ports.
The Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr Hassan Bello made the assertion at the NAGAFF anniversary lecture.
Bello, who was represented by Deputy Director Monitoring and Enforcement, at the council, Mrs Selin Ifeora, said that the industry needs to be automated and should do away with manual process.
"Establishing a single window is long overdue in the country, for us to succeed in what we are doing in the port"
According to him, "Single Window is an electronic platform where information/documents can be lodged and this helps in simplifying, standardising and harmonising our processes and procedure.
"The window put in place will help eradicate all manual processes that bring about corruption, delay in activities in the ports and ensure competitiveness in the industry,'' he said.
Meanwhile in his speech, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam urged members to maximise the window created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
According to him, in the next two decades, they should have successfully expanded their door-to-door net worth and networking beyond the West and Central Africa sub-region to global competitiveness.
He added that trade and commerce are critical mass in a nation building and development wherein freight forwarding practitioners are the vehicle or artery of conveyance.
He pointed out that the liberation struggles to enthrone best practice in the business of freight forwarding had been successful, adding that it would help in adopting global standard.