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‘To improve global trade’ — FG to set up intelligence trade office

‘To improve global trade’ — FG to set up intelligence trade office
February 09
21:24 2024

The federal government says it is taking steps to establish the Nigerian trade intelligence office to help improve global trading capabilities.

This was disclosed by Doris Uzoka-Anite, minister of industry, trade and investment, during the launch of the ‘World Customs Organisation (WCO) Time Release Study’ on Thursday in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Uzoka-Anite said the new trade intelligence office will help to streamline the customs process and make it easier for businesses to operate in Nigeria.

According to the minister, the office will be the national coordinator and focal point for all trade-related data and information in Nigeria.

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“This office is set to leverage world-class technology such as Artificial Intelligence, the internet of things, and big data to provide Nigeria with the ability to predict global market trends,” she said.

“This will enhance our local and global trading capacities thereby significantly enhancing trade and the ease of doing business in Nigeria, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s eight points agenda.

“Nigeria possesses some trade data, collated and held by agencies such as the Nigerian Customs Service, the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.

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“It is also fair to state that a lack of coordination amongst MDAs is hampering the availability of critical trade data for both policymakers and investors, who require such trade information to enhance trade and promote investment in Nigeria.

“This lack of coordination continues to affect the implementation of technological infrastructure for the administration of a comprehensive import and export supervision scheme.

“This, in turn, continues to drastically increase the potential for revenue leakages through incorrect classifications, undervaluations, incorrect computations, forex infractions, under-declaration, and incorrect origins amongst many other infractions along the trade value chain.”

The minister also said the objective of the trade intelligence office is to create a world-class centre that uses top-tier technology and data analysis to support trade and improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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She said the office will use advanced technology to track and monitor cargo, containers, and vehicles in a way that will not disrupt or delay legitimate trade.

Elaborating further, she said the new technology will provide accurate and up-to-date information on imports and exports, vital for effective planning and policy making.

Uzoka-Anite announced that the ministry had also launched a one-stop export promotion shop, called the Domestic Export Warehouse (DEW) initiative, to support the activities of the customs in trade facilitation.

“DEW is a one-stop facility for the storage of products, packaging, pre-shipment inspection, and the fumigation of goods in preparation for their transportation to the ports. In line with our quest to enhance trade and the ease of doing business in Nigeria,” she said.

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“This one-stop facility will reduce the challenges exporters face in moving their goods from the hinterlands to the ports.

“We are confident that this approach will reduce the challenges exporters face in going through the shipping process as well as improving the time it takes to get export-ready goods to the port, which is in line with this administration’s commitment, to eliminate all bottlenecks hindering business.”

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The minister said businesses can now take advantage of the opportunities provided to reduce the time it takes to ship their goods.

FG TO RELAUNCH NATIONAL TRADE FACILITATION COMMITTEE

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Uzoka-Anite announced the national trade facilitation committee will be relaunched and revitalised.

She said this will further improve coordination and collaboration between government agencies, the private sector, and other stakeholders to improve trade and increase the country’s trade volume.

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“It is my strong belief that effective trade facilitation requires efficient coordination across the entire supply chain. This approach requires careful planning, collaboration across a wide number of government agencies and departments as well as close cooperation with the private sector,” the minister said.

“I wish to announce that we will be relaunching and revitalising the national trade facilitation committee where the federal ministry of industry, the Nigerian customs alongside other MDAs and the private sectors will effectively plan and implement more successful trade facilitation reforms that will continually increase our trade volume.”

She commended customs, saying it is unique because it is responsible for three critical functions: Security, revenue generation and trade facilitation.

Uzoka-Anite, however, told the agency to prioritise trade facilitation, as it will increase trade volumes and make the country more competitive, ultimately resulting in higher revenue generation.

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