July 11, 2024

How FG can surpass annual revenue target with effective trade facilitation – expert

Federal Inland Revenue Service

By Godfrey Bivbere

The Federal government’s annual revenue target for its agencies in the maritime sub-sector of the nation’s economy can be met and surpassed if effective trade facilitation procedures are implemented, Senior Partner of Akabogu and Associates, Emeka Akabogu, has said.

Speaking while presenting his paper titled, “Legal Issues in Nigerian Seaport Trade Facilitation”, at the ongoing 17th International Maritime Seminar for Judges in Abuja, he noted that contrary to claims in some quarters that full implementation of trade facilitation will affect revenue collection negatively, it will actually shore up the revenue accrual to the government.

He listed some of the hindrances to trade facilitation to include complicated processes which is exploited for personal gains by officials of government agencies with the responsibilities of implementation; wrong strategies, ineffective tools which can be linked for example to 100 per cent physical inspection of imported cargoes and negative culture.

Akabogu also noted that some persons benefitting from the current system will not be willing to allow the positive change needed for trade facilitation processes in the country.

According to him, “The financial cost of delays suffered by parties is often too high, ultimately resulting in market distortions. Investments do not flow into economies which have inefficient trade practices, with resultant impact on manufacturing, job creation and overall quality of living.”

Akabogu, quoting the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a publication with title ‘Costs of Maritime Port Challenges in Nigeria’, said Nigeria’s seaports still rank as the most expensive in West Africa.

Another report highlighted efficiency in port operations as ‘an incentive and one of the major drivers of trade and investing activities across countries.

He said the report also noted that Nigerian ports are among the worst ports in the world occasioned by problems including import process delays, corruption and infractions among both government officials and port users and that ‘41 per cent of the cost to import is attributable to inefficiencies or informal payments’.