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Developing Customs’ ICT Network

The Nigerian Customs Service has introduced e-trade network that is accessible 24 hours a day from any place where an Internet connection is possible says Ms. Valentina Mintah, Chief Consultant, Customs ICT

 

The Nigerian Customs Service has just made a major announcement about single window operating platform.  What business challenge are you addressing?

 

The objective of the National Single Window environment is to improve the current frustrations of importers, exporters and transit principals who are faced with unnecessary bureaucracy, process duplications within stakeholders, bottlenecks, lack of information, transparency and predictability etc which has a significant impact on the time and cost spent on their everyday import and export activities. The ultimate goal of Single Window is to create a single point of access where all processes and document requirements are centralised in an online integrated workspace for the trader to ensure a simpler, faster and less costly trade operating environment.

 

Can you tell us more about how you are bringing different operators in the financial, ports and maritime industry together?

 

The National Single Window platform will provide a single point of access for the trader to interact with all relevant stakeholders, for instance, Commercial, Transport, Ports and Logistics, Regulatory Agencies and the Financial and Insurance entities. This single point of access will provide information and harmonised processes online, 24/7 for the trader’s benefit. This will ensure that the trader can access stakeholders and their processes from the comfort of their office or home, significantly reducing the time and cost spent on administering their import, export and transit ventures.

Achieving this integrated workspace requires a comprehensive Gap Analysis and Feasibility Study in the areas of Business Processes, Change Management and Stakeholder Engagement, ICT and infrastructure Assessment Legal Framework and Capacity Building. This Study will result in a National Single Window Blueprint and Roadmap for implementation. We have just concluded this Blueprint and Roadmap phase which involved several stakeholder discussions and workshops, capacity building and the creation of Working Groups across the international trade stakeholders.

 

One of the questions raised in the context of automation systems is the type of electronic Single Window being adopted. Could you please shed some light on the model of Single Window being implemented by the Nigerian Customs Service?

 

UN/CEFACT’s BUY SHIP PAY MODEL, helps illustrate the scope and model of the Single Window being proposed. The model being proposed covers the 4 logical components of the international trade supply chain. These are the Commercial Procedures such as Buyer/Seller negotiations, Invoices etc. The Transport and Logistics Procedures such as Vessel Management, Collection, movement and delivery of goods, Regulatory procedures including Licenses, Permits and Certificates and Customs Clearance and the Financial Component involving processes such as Letters of Credit, Insurance and payments.

 

Single Window facilities may seem to be limited by available resources such as funding, political will and management capabilities. How do you intend to manage the challenges of emerging legal requirements?

 

A legal framework is certainly required to ensure the legal backing of the operators, users and processes of the National Single Window. As part of the Feasibility Study, a comprehensive legal analysis was conducted, covering the existing laws and mandates in areas such as Lead agency, E-commerce, Organisational Structure, Information dissemination, Liability, Dispute resolution, Record keeping and Intellectual property.

 

How does the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS intend to develop laws that will cover e-signature, e-transaction, and the e-security in the electronic environment?

 

The Feasibility Study on analysing the current relevant laws and mandates in Nigeria and benchmarking these to international standards is currently ongoing. In the end, it will provide the recommendation on the Legal Framework Roadmap to be adopted and implemented by government to ensure a legal environment for the operations of the National Single Window.