Revenue optimisation, ease of doing business: Tinubu inaugurates National Single Window Committee

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.$4bn lost annually to inefficiency in our import, export processes—FIRS chairman

 

In a bid to achieve optimisation of revenue generation and enhance ease of doing business in the country, President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, inaugurated a steering committee to drive an initiative called the National Single Window Project (NSWP).

Speaking while inaugurating the committee at the Presidential Villa, President Tinubu said the initiative is targeted at eliminating all forms of impediments to trade in the country as well as improve Nigeria’s rating in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

Describing the project, which is domiciled at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) as another milestone for his administration, the President noted that the project will lead to the inflow of foreign direct investments into the country through the removal of trade barriers to import and export businesses.

The National Single Window is an electronic portal that links all agencies and players in import and export processes to an integrated platform.

Membership of the Presidential Steering Committee for the project is drawn from the Nigeria Customs, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and key private sector players such as exporters, importers, shipping lines, freight forwarders, banks, and clearing agents.

“Our import and export processes are bureaucratic which leads to long lead times in our ports. Such inefficiencies have adverse impacts on local businesses in the country and serve as potential impediment for foreign direct investments. To eliminate these challenges, today we are launching the National Single Window Project.

“The National Single Window Project is intended to enhance revenue generation through imports and exports and accelerate economic activities in the country.

“This project is a bold initiative to simplify and streamline our import and export clearance processes by eliminating bottlenecks, and harnessing best-in-class technology. This will result in reduced costs of doing business and position us to attract more foreign investment.

“The National Single Window Project will consist of four key pillars, namely Single Window for Imports, Single Window for Exports, Port Community System and Scanning Services across our sea, air and land borders.

“The Project is not merely a technological advancement but a strategic initiative to increase revenue generation by consolidating import and export related procedures into a unified electronic platform.

“The platform will serve as a single portal for the submission and approval of all import and export related documents, as well as a centralized payment system. This platform will be integrated with the various systems in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved in the import and export processes.

“The National Single Window Project is a top priority for this Administration, as a result I am directing all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies working on similar systems or information technology implementation projects to stop doing so in silos but align and consolidate such projects under the National Single Window Project’s scope.

“Today, I am also inaugurating the National Single Window Project Steering Committee. The primary objectives of the Steering Committee are to provide support, oversight, strategic direction, and guidance to ensure the effective implementation of the project.

“You are entrusted with the responsibility of aligning this project with this Government’s revenue enhancement objectives, setting the stage for a more efficient and responsive economy.

“I expect nothing short of excellence from this committee. You are the driving force behind the success of this crucial project, and your commitment and dedication will determine its outcome.

“Our collective effort will shape this project and play a key role in shaping the future of trade and commerce in Nigeria. I urge you to approach this task with a sense of purpose, unity, and a shared commitment for the betterment of our nation,” Tinubu said.

Also speaking at the launch, chairman of FIRS, Zacch Adedeji, thanked President Tinubu for the project and approving FIRS and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as the project’s implementing agencies and financial managers.

Adedeji said the project aligns with Tinubu’s “commitment to stimulating our economy through enhanced trade facilitation and a bold step towards realizing Nigeria’s immense potential.”

“As we strive towards achieving sustainable economic growth, we must embrace high-impact projects such as the National Single Window.

“By simplifying the government trade compliance process through a cutting-edge digital platform, we will unlock a myriad of economic benefits.

“This initiative will serve as a catalyst for achieving an average GDP growth rate of 7% annually, propelling Nigeria to new heights of prosperity. The National Single Window is not just a technological advancement; it is the gateway to a more connected, efficient, and transparent system.

“By linking our ports, government agencies, and key stakeholders, we will create a seamless ecosystem that facilitates trade, saves time for businesses, and opens up a world of opportunities.

“From providing access to education and healthcare to enabling small businesses to reach global markets, digital connectivity is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s true potential.

“The heavy costs, delays, and inefficiencies at our ports has been a constant burden. It is estimated that a staggering $4 billion USD annually is lost due to these inefficiencies.

“By addressing revenue leakage prevention and facilitating effective trade, we will reclaim these lost resources and channel them towards the betterment of our society.

“Steering Committee – National Single Window 2 Paperless trade alone is projected to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7 billion USD – a testament to the transformative power of this initiative.

“The success stories of countries that have embraced Single Window systems are evident. Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have all witnessed significant improvements in trade efficiency after implementing similar initiatives.

“It is now Nigeria’s turn to join the ranks of these progressive nations and reap the rewards of a streamlined, digitized trade environment.

“The National Single Window is not just about facilitating trade; it is also a powerful tool for expanding our tax base and capturing the informal e-Commerce sector.

“By providing a unified, modern digital platform for expeditious paperless cargo clearance and logistics, we will bring more businesses into the formal economy, ensuring that everyone contributes their fair share to our nation’s development.

“Moreover, by linking the Nigerian National Single Window with other African nations, we will expedite cargo movement and optimize intra-Africa trade. This will position Nigeria as a leader in regional trade facilitation, fostering stronger economic ties with our neighbors and creating new opportunities for growth and collaboration.

“The current international trade environment is complex, involving disparate systems and requiring an average of 40 documents per transaction.

“Nigeria’s lack of a comprehensive trade facilitation system has led to bottlenecks, corruption, port delays, decreased revenue, and a negative business environment. The National Single Window is a decisive response to these challenges.

“By improving trade facilitation, revenue generation, economic growth, transparency, security, and streamlined processes, we will transform Nigeria into a global trade powerhouse.

“Data harmonization is a crucial component of this initiative, enabling us to capture, define, analyze, and reconcile regulatory trade documents efficiently.

“Through the National Single Window, we will reduce clearance times, improve economic metrics, increase transparency, reduce trade costs, and boost revenue.

“The implementation plan will be carefully crafted, with short-term, medium-term, and long-term phases to ensure a smooth and effective rollout.

“The success of this project hinges on the unwavering commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders. It requires strong government participation and engagement from all partner agencies.

“Together, we will work tirelessly to overcome any obstacles and ensure the seamless implementation of the National Single Window.

“We are ushering in a new wave of economic prosperity, efficiency, and boundless opportunities. The National Single Window is not just a project; it is a symbol of our collective aspirations and our determination to build a better Nigeria,” Adedeji said.

 

 

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