Single Window is a trade facilitation tool which when deployed inevitably results in significant improvement in the time and cost of carrying out cross- border trade. As such, when implemented in developed countries, which suffer from large number of non-tariff barriers, the benefits are accrued quickly.
In Nigeria, the employment of ICT solutions operated by the regulatory authorities is an ongoing process. There has possibly been insufficient stakeholder engagement in the design, governance, and requirements of the national Single Window platform. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement requires members of states to implement Single Window. The Nigeria National Trade Facilitation Committee has been convened and Single Window is likely to be a priority on the agenda item.
The Nigerian Ports are the principal entry points for imports and exports cargo. Releases of cargoes from the ports does not meet international standards in that clearance and releases formalities can be an elongated process, thereby increasing the cost of essential imports and reducing export competitiveness. All this is detrimental to the Nigerian economy.
The Nigerian Ports Authority has taken a very proactive approach to embracing ICT Technologies for a number of internal activity areas and now has a focus on exploring the best options for a Single Window environment that would meet the needs of the ports and all stakeholders therein. The authority has considered establishing a Port Community System to fill the gap prior to the full rollout of the National Single Window System. The project team considered that this may not be the optimum approach and our recommendations are based on NPA fully engaged in the phased rollout of the National Single Window. This full engagement will enable NPA to influence the design and capabilities of the system early in the implementation process when it will be most effective to do so.
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