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Shippers’ Council, ITC partner to resolve cross-border challenges

Shippers' Council, ITC partner to resolve cross-border challenges

 

Segun Oladipupo

 

Happy Diamond Age

 

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has expressed willingness to support the International Trade Center (ITC to resolve cross-border traders’ challenges and to facilitate trade.

ITC is the ECOWAS Agricultural Trade Program co-implementer aimed at improving intra-regional agricultural trade at border crossing points.

The Associate Program Officer, ITC, Richard Eke- Metoho, at a courtesy visit to the NSC said the purpose of the visit was part of the team’s ongoing study to identify areas for improvement in trade facilitation, particularly at border crossing points.

Highlighting the importance of collecting data from the Council which manages information centre at Seme-Kraje border, he maintained that some of the identified challenges faced by traders and truck drivers using the border, a key trade route is the number of checkpoints and lack of scanners.

He said information collected by the team would not only identify existing trade facilitation measures that were working effectively but also led to the development of new trade facilitation measures that address the challenges faced by traders.

He said, “We are here to collect experience from the Nigerian Shippers Council.

“From our interactions with the Shippers Council, we keep finding similar problem faced by traders most especially on the number of checkpoints and scanners that are really needed especially for transporters and truck drivers.

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“It is still an ongoing study. The more information we collect right now, the more it will help us to make more informed decision process. At the end of the study, we will be able to develop a report that will pinpoint all the main obstacles that traders are facing.”

In his remarks, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Pius Ukeyima Akutah emphasized that trade facilitation is a major initiative of the Council and pledged to provide the necessary support to ensure the success of the study.

He noted that the study will strengthen the Council’s ability to formalize informal trade at border areas, gather statistics, and plan for trade volumes.

The focus of the study is on agricultural products, which Akutah highlighted as a significant area of potential for Nigeria, not only in the African region but also globally.

He expressed optimism that the study will help develop skills and improve operations at the Border Information Centre managed by the Council.

“Trade facilitation is one of the major aspects of what we do so we are going to give you the necessary support to achieve the success that is desired.

“The study will help us to plan and develop more skills in terms of what we do at the Border Information Centre. Shippers Council is a partner and I want us to take our partnership to the next level that will focus on engagement with our stakeholders,” he said.

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General Manager, Operations, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Okafor Stephen, lamented that there are about 57 checkpoints along Mile 2 to Seme border.

This, he said had given rise to extortion by non state actors and government security officials along the Seme border road.

“These are parts of the things that delay movement of trucks and again lengthy clearing of cargo by Customs is also part of the barrier. I hope that with this meeting, ITC and GIZ will continue to work towards surmounting this problem to ease trade,” he said.

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