The Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) has called on the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) to review its border posts regulations to fast track trade facilitation in order to help consummate the port reform process.
The General Manager, Security of NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu who stated this in a parley with the media, said that the port reform was expected to go through three areas, which are Business model, institutional reform and infrastructural development, noted that for a total reform to be achieved there was the need for the triangle of Customs activities to be optimized.
According to him, this entails striking a balance among revenue generation, border posts regulation and trade facilitation.
Calling therefore for the review of Customs and Excise Management Act(CEMA) to achieve effective border posts regulation, Ebubeogu observed that the revenue element had been taken care of, but: “ We need to review the Customs laws so that the other two sides of the triangle which are: Border posts regulation and trade facilitation are also strengthened.”
In his appraisal of the port reform programme, Ebubeogu said NPA had done well as it has gone half way in its own reforms initiative with a focus on the passage of the Ports and Harbour Bill.
In his words:” The ports reform was expected to go through three areas. One is the Business model. The second is the Institutional reform and the third is the Infrastructural development. What we have done so far and the activities of the port as a complex wear two caps.”
“One cap is Marine logistics, which is what NPA has done. In this cap, we have the NPA, terminal operators, shipping companies and freight forwarders. So, NPA has gone half way in its own reforms,” he stated.
Therefore,” There is the need for the Customs laws to be reviewed to strike the needed balance in the port system,” Ebubeogu added.
Regretting that he was misrepresented in an earlier discussion with the media by an online medium from where some national dailies also wrote their stories, he said, there was need for clarification on the position of NPA in policy drives of the government.
Ebubeogu, who said he or NPA never questioned the integrity of government’s tax collection or the propriety of Customs’ revenue collection, said,” Government has been making sure that tax payers’ money is handled well to encourage the culture of tax payment, and in terms of revenue, we (NPA) has done well with Treasury Single Account(TSA) and has even gone further by coming up with various machineries which are a dragnet to hold those who have not paid their taxes. Government has also done well with that.”
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