Stakeholders Task Customs On Implementation Of Ease Of Doing Business Report  

 Even though the Federal Government had approved reduction in unnecessary documentation for imports and exports at the nation’s ports, stakeholders in the maritime sector have lamented that the directive is yet to be implemented at the ports.The Presidential Enabling Committee on Ease of Doing Business (PEBEC) was constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016 and chaired by the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to ensure that import and export processes are hitch-free.Part of the submission of the committee is that documentation process for export is now reduced from 10 to 7 while for all imports; documentation is now from 14 to 8.But speaking with Shipping Position Daily, President of Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS); Rev. Jonathan Nicole said that one month after the resolutions were announced, Shippers are still going through the old rigorous process of cargo clearance at the port.He consequently charged the Customs headquarters to communicate the resolutions to the various Customs commands so as to make it a working document at all seaports and border posts.Nicole noted that without an official circular emanating from the Federal government to the customs and to the commands, the PEBEC resolutions would be in paper but not implemented.Also speaking with our correspondent, a licensed customs agent; Chukwuemeka Shedrack noted that Customs cannot implement any government directive if it is not communicated in writing.He said, "you must pass circulars to them, and they would be looking at that circular and even if they don't want to implement it, we the stakeholders would be able to challenge them that there is a circular to that effect""When there is no circular, the customs cannot work and stakeholders would not be able to ask question. There must be a working document to back them up and on which importers can monitor" "If the government has announced something, let them make it a working document and then send people to monitor it" he stressed. Recall that Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment had said in April 2017 that directives have been issued to the Finance Ministry, and the Comptroller-General of customs.She said government has also issued some directives on palletisation of goods coming to Nigeria and on amount of documentation saying that, "we want to save cost and time for SME’s and anybody exporting or importing into Nigeria”.“So documentation for imports has been reduced from 14 to 8 and exports from 10 to 7, and this is with immediate effect”, she had added.