By Godfrey Bivbere
PORTS and Terminal Multiservices Limited, PTML, said that non-linkage of the digital portal of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Nigeria Customs Service, NSC, is affecting smooth export processes at the port.
This is even as the Nigeria Shippers Council, NSC, pleaded with the CBN to prioritise maritime businesses across the country by intervening to enhance port access and processes.
The immediate past Executive Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello, who led the team on a valedictory visit, said though the government has a responsibility of providing conducive atmosphere for port operations, but the CBN which has been working on the economy of the country and making interventions should also look at the port system and intervene.
General Manager, Commercial of PTML, Chioma Kelechi-Ahanonu, disclosed this in Lagos when the management of the terminal played host to the management team of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC.
Kelechi-Ahanonu said that CBN wants PTML to verify Nigerian Export Proceeds (NXP) numbers of every export cargo to check for genuineness of the document but noted that the terminal cannot do so without Customs, and therefore called for integration of both systems.
In her words, “I will just like to mention the issue of export which you talked about which Shippers’ Council has always played the pivotal role. This is an area of interest for the NSC.
“You organise a couple of trainings for us, and you were driving the shipping companies to comply, comply.
“We are very compliant on that. We will just like to request because of you that we liaising with other government agencies to see how between the CBN and the Customs we can integrate their systems, real time and as quickly as possible as well because what we have today is that CBN want us to verify the NXPs before we move the cargo; we are still there.
“So how do we see these NXPs if Customs have not done their part? So that real time Customs integration with Nigeria Integrated Customs System, NICIS 11 platform and the other portal has to happen if we are looking at digitalisation as a whole.
“This area is still there and we have to get that out of the way so that from this end we can be confident to accept any export cargo without knowing whether NXP is genuine or not. We are making the request to you,” she said.
On the need for CBN intervention, Bello said: “Government has a responsibility of providing conducive atmosphere for port operations. The CBN which has been working on the economy of this country and making interventions should also look at the port system and intervene, it is very important.
“We are pleading with CBN to ensure our exports are going on smoothly. Access to the port by export is difficult and some of our terminals are not configured for export because we have been exporting things for a very long time.’’