Archives For Nigeria

Kaduma Dry Port

On Thursday, 4 January 2018, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, inaugurated the Kaduna Inland Dry Port and warned the Nigeria Customs Service and port officials against frustrating the effective use of the facilities. Inaugurating the facilities in Kaduna, Buhari said the customs and the port officials must make the facilities work and not to frustrate business, commercial and industrial enterprises with unnecessary bureaucracy.

It remains for Customs and Ports officials to make these facilities work and not to frustrate business, commercial and industrial enterprises with unnecessary bureaucracy and inflicting on them delays and hardships, thereby defeating the object of the whole exercise as has happened in the past.

According to him, the hinterland business community has waited for too long for such facility that has tremendous potentials to ease the way of doing international business for the interior based importers and exporters. He said that the development of Inland Dry Ports was an important factor in the nation’s economic development efforts.

As Ports of origin for exports and ports of destination for imports, the Inland Dry Ports will accelerate the implementation of our economic diversification policy. “The concept of Inland Dry Port has gained widespread importance with the changes in international transportation as a result of the container revolution and the introduction of door-to-door delivery of cargo.

It provides importers and exporters located within the nation’s hinterland, especially industrial and commercial outfits, access to shipping and port services without necessarily visiting the seaports. “It also enables them to process clearance of their import cargo and take delivery of their raw materials and machinery close to their places of business.

President Buhari also said that the Dry Ports would provide exporters the much-needed facilities to process, package, consolidate and forward their exports to their customers all over the world without having to physically be at the seaports. According to him, this replicates the port economy in the various centres where the Dry Ports are located inland thereby generating employment and contributing to the ease of doing business.

He said in addition to the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, six other Inland Dry Ports in Ibadan, Aba, Kano, Jos, Funtua and Maiduguri, which had also been gazetted, were at various stages of completion. He congratulated the Kaduna State Government, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Shippers’ Council as well as the hinterland importers and exporters on the inauguration of the facilities.

The president also commended the initiative of Nigerian Shippers’ Council towards promoting the provision of these modern transport infrastructural facilities. He, however, urged the Concessionaires of the other six Dry Ports to emulate the Concessionaires of the Kaduna Dry Port by accelerating work on theirs so as to ensure speedy completion of the projects.

He said that with the full complement of the seven Dry Ports, congestion at the seaport and traffic gridlock in the port complex would be eliminated.

“Consequently, the cost of transportation and cost of doing business will be reduced,’’ he said. He lauded the efforts of the Kaduna state government for facilitating the establishment of Kaduna Inland Dry Port.

According to him, the provision of access roads and other utilities to the Dry Port by Kaduna State Government is worthy of emulation by the other Dry Ports host State Governments.

He urged relevant stakeholders across the public and private sectors, particularly Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Shipping Companies and Agencies, Seaport Terminal Operators, Clearing and Forwarding Agents, Road Haulers and importers and exporters to utilize the facility optimally. Source: article originally published by Vanguard (Nigeria), 4 January 2018

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APM Terminals 2The Maersk-owned company APM Terminals has revealed it is investing about 14 billion kroner (US$2 billion dollars) into a new port in Bagadry, Nigeria, in what will be its biggest ever investment. The port will become the second-largest port in Africa – only surpassed by Port Said in Egypt – and is a clear signal that the Danish shipping giant’s terminal operator sees the African continent as a long-term hotbed for economic growth.

“We are currently purchasing property from the state and will start construction later this year. The port is scheduled to be completed in 2019,” David Skov, the managing director for APM Terminals in Nigeria, told Børsen business newspaper.

“Globally, it will be APM Terminal’s largest ever investment and marks a strategic shift to multi ports. It means we will supplement our own experience in container ports with the establishment of a free zone, an oil port and a bulk port, so in other words a complete port.”

APMT recently acted on its decision to invest $1.5 billion on the Port of Tema in Ghana, Africa, with the establishment of a Greenfield port outside of the existing facility and upgrades to the adjacent road network.

Vietnam Ivory Seizure

Customs officers in Vietnam seized more than two tons of elephant tusks, eight days after confiscating an ivory shipment weighing nearly a ton, authorities said. Picture: Pornchai Kittiwongsakul

Customs officers in Vietnam seized more than two tons of elephant tusks, eight days after confiscating an ivory shipment weighing nearly a ton, authorities said on Monday.

The estimated 4.4 million dollars worth of ivory was disguised as logs and hidden within a shipment of timber from Nigeria.

The cargo was posted to the same company listed as the receiver for nearly a ton of elephant tusks and rhinoceros horn from Mozambique that was discovered on August 13, said Ho Xuan Tam, Da Nang Customs Department spokesman.

Company officials have denied wrongdoing.

The poaching of elephants and rhinoceros and the trafficking of their tusks and horns are outlawed under international efforts to protect endangered species. But the illicit trade from Africa to Asia has grown with rising prosperity creating demand in Vietnam and China.

While elephant ivory is valued for its aesthetic appeal, folk superstitions prize rhino horn for its supposed medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities.

A single gram of ground rhino horn possesses a street value of 133 dollars. Rhino killings reached a record 1 215 last year, 10 times the number killed in 2009, according to the conservation group WildAid. Source: IOL

flags2African countries are coming under strong pressure from the United States and the European Union to reverse the decision adopted by their trade ministers to implement the World Trade Organization’s trade facilitation agreement on a “provisional” basis.

At last week’s summit of African Union leaders in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, “there was unprecedented [U.S. and European Union] pressure and bulldozing to change the decision reached by the African trade ministers on April 27 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement the trade facilitation (TF) agreement on a provisional basis under paragraph 47 of the Doha Declaration,” Ambassador Nelson Ndirangu, director for economics and external trade in the Kenyan Foreign Ministry, told IPS.

“This pressure comes only when the issues and interests of rich countries are involved but not when the concerns of the poorest countries are to be addressed,” Ambassador Ndirangu said.

“Clearly, there are double-standards,” the senior Kenyan trade official added, lamenting the pressure and arm-twisting that was applied on African countries for definitive implementation of the agreement.

The TF agreement was concluded at the WTO’s ninth ministerial conference in Bali, Indonesia, last year. It was taken out of the Doha Development Agenda as a low-hanging fruit ready for consummation. More importantly, the agreement was a payment to the United States and the European Union to return to the Doha negotiating table.

The ambitious TF agreement is aimed at harmonising customs rules and regulations as followed in the industrialised countries. It ensures unimpeded market access for companies such as Apple, General Electric, Caterpillar, Pfizer, Samsung, Sony, Ericsson, Nokia, Hyundai, Toyota and Lenovo in developing and poor countries.

Former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy has suggested that the TF agreement would reduce tariffs by 10 percent in the poorest countries.

In return for the agreement, developing and least-developed countries were promised several best endeavour outcomes in the Bali package on agriculture and development.

They include general services (such as land rehabilitation, soil conservation and resource management, drought management and flood control), public stockholding for food security, an understanding on tariff rate quota administration, export subsidies, and phasing out of trade-distorting cotton subsidies (provided largely by the United States) in agriculture.

The non-binding developmental outcomes include preferential rules of origin for the export of industrial goods by the poorest countries, a special waiver to help services suppliers in the poorest countries, duty-free and quota-free market access for least developed countries (LDCs), and a monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment flexibilities.

African countries were unhappy with the Bali package because they said it lacked balance and was tilted heavily in favour of the TF agreement forced by the industrialised countries on the poor nations.

The Bali outcomes, said African Union Trade Commissioner Fatima Acyl, “were not the most optimal decisions in terms of African interests … We have to reflect and learn from the lessons of Bali on how we can ensure that our interests and priorities are adequately addressed in the post-Bali negotiations.”

The African ministers in Malabo directed their negotiators to propose language on the Protocol of Amendment – the legal instrument that will bring the TF agreement into force at the WTO – that the TF agreement will be provisionally implemented and in completion of the entire Doha Round of negotiation.

African countries justify their proposal on the basis of paragraph 47 of the Doha Declaration which enables WTO members to implement agreement either on a provisional or definitive basis.

The African position on the TF agreement was not acceptable to the rich countries. In a furious response, the industrialised countries adopted a belligerent approach involving threats to terminate preferential access.

The United States, for example, threatened African countries that it would terminate the preferential access provided under the Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) programme if they did not reverse their decision on the TF, said a senior African trade official from Southern Africa.

The WTO has also joined the wave of protests launched by the industrialised countries against the African decision for deciding to implement the TF on a provisional basis. “I am aware that there are concerns about actions on the part of some delegations [African countries] which could compromise what was negotiated in Bali last December,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said, at a meeting of the informal trade negotiations committee on June 25.

The African decision, according to Azevedo, “would not only compromise the Trade Facilitation Agreement – including the technical assistance element. All of the Bali decisions – every single one of them – would be compromised,” he said.

The United States agreed with Azevedo’s assessment of the potential danger of unravelling the TF agreement, and the European Union’s trade envoy to the WTO, Ambassador Angelos Pangratis, said that “the credibility of the negotiating function of this organisation is once again at stake” because of the African decision.

The United States and the European Union stepped up their pressure by sending security officials to Malabo to oversee the debate, said another African official. He called it an “unprecedented power game rarely witnessed at an African heads of nations meeting.”

In the face of the strong-arm tactics, several African countries such as Nigeria and Mauritius refused to join the ministerial consensus to implement the TF agreement on a provisional basis. Several other African countries subsequently retracted their support for the declaration agreed to in April.

In a nutshell, African Union leaders were forced to change their course by adopting a new decision which “reaffirms commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and to its rapid completion in accordance with its development objectives.”

The African Union “also reaffirms its commitment to all the decisions the Ministers took in Bali which are an important stepping stone towards the conclusion of the Doha Round … To this end, leaders acknowledge that the Trade Facilitation Agreement is an integral part of the process.”

Regarding capacity-building assistance to developing countries to help them implement the binding TF commitments, African Union countries still want to see up-front delivery of assistance. The new decision states that African Union leaders “reiterate in this regard that assistance and support for capacity-building should be provided as envisaged in the Trade Facilitation Agreement in a predictable manner so as to enable African economies to acquire the necessary capacity for the implementation of the agreement.”

The decision taken by the African leaders is clearly aimed at implementing the TF decision, but there is no clarity yet on how to implement the decision, said Ndirangu. “We never said we will not implement the TF agreement but we don’t know how to implement this agreement,” he added.

In an attempt to ensure that the rich countries do not walk away with their prized jewel in the Doha crown by not addressing the remaining developmental issues, several countries – South Africa, India, Uganda, Tanzania, Solomon Islands and Zimbabwe – demanded Wednesday that there has to be a clear linkage between the implementation of the TF agreement and the rest of the Doha Development Agenda on the basis of the Single Undertaking, which stipulates that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed!

More than 180 days after the Bali meeting, there is no measurable progress on the issues raised by the poor countries. But the TF agreement is on course for final implementation by the end of 2015. Source: Inter Press Service

Flag-Pins-Nigeria-South-AfricaWhat matters more: the size of the pie or how many mouths it has to feed? It depends whether you’re eating pies, or selling them.

Most of Nigeria’s 170-million people live below the poverty line, so many complained they didn’t feel any richer when the oil producing nation’s statistics bureau announced on Sunday the economy had replaced South Africa as the continent’s biggest. Nigeria’s 2013 GDP was rebased up to an estimated nearly $510-billion – a “pie” one and half times the size of South Africa’s, but feeding more than three times as many people.

But development economists argue that their attention should be on improving the health, education and incomes of ordinary Nigerians, many of whom struggle to feed their families. In 2013, the Economist Intelligence Unit rated Nigeria the worst place for a child to be born out of 80 countries surveyed.

“Really what matters in the end is per capita, how well our individuals are doing,” World Bank chief Africa economist Francisco Ferreira said after the statistical change in Abuja.

“I don’t want to rain on Nigeria’s parade … but what matters are living standards for everyone.”

In GDP per capita terms, Nigeria is looking healthier than before rebasing: per capita GDP was $2 688 last year, from an estimated $1 437 in 2012. Yet that masks growing inequality: at around 60%, absolute poverty in Nigeria is stubbornly high despite five years of average 7% annual GDP growth.

But are better living standards for all really what matters to investors looking to cash in on a big economy? On a per capita basis, Botswana, Mauritius and Seychelles are among Africa’s top five richest states. None has a population of more than two-million, so they are admired but cannot claim heavyweight status when it comes to competing with other African countries for the attention of foreign investors.

“Seychelles is the only African country listed under ‘very high human development’. But when did you last hear Seychelles mentioned during discussions on global political economy?” commentator Azuka Onwuka wrote in Nigeria’s Punch newspaper.

“A high GDP means external … investors pay more attention. The US and Europe no longer look down on China and India.”

Population Power

Nigeria’s potential is predicated on its large population. Economist Jim O’Neill notably included it in his MINT group of countries, alongside Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, which he thinks will join the BRICs (Brazil, India, Russia, China) he named as the emerging economies shaping the world’s future.

All have large, swelling populations, with a demographic bulge around the soon-to-be-most-productive younger generations. For businesses deciding where to invest next, a consumer market of 170-million beats the Seychelles’ 85 000.

“Size matters,” Oscar Onyema, chief executive of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, said. “Size means you will be able to do … projects you would not have considered in smaller economies.”

For retailers targeting customers at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid, a national income spread around more households – lower GDP per capita, in other words – might actually be a good thing, many economists argue. If you are selling washing powder or fizzy drinks, better a large number of consumers on modest incomes than a small number of wealthy. There is only so much cola most people can drink.

For Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria, chairperson of Comcraft Group, which sells ironware, including corrugated roofs and pots and pans, Nigeria has massive potential. Comcraft is in 18 locations there, despite the fact that its Nigeria manager has been kidnapped three times by criminal gangs – a common risk facing businesses in southern Nigeria.

“Nigeria is just colossal,” he told the Reuters Africa Summit in Nairobi. “Everybody needs to eat. Everybody needs shelter … Anybody that brings in money needs a pot to cook in, they need a roof – so we are in the right place.”.

Inequality is Risky

Higher up that pyramid, living standards matter more. In this regard South Africa, which still has poverty but also a big middle class and an advanced consumer society, beats Nigeria.

Africa’s top energy producer relies heavily on oil, which tends to concentrate wealth in an elite at the top of the social scale – good for luxury goods firms like LVMH and Porsche, both of which have thriving operations in Nigeria.

But retailers targeting a broader consumer class say Nigeria still needs better infrastructure and a more diversified economy to achieve its full potential as a mass market.

“Until the country invests more in infrastructure, invests more on other activities outside of oil, until that starts to develop the economy … I think the potential is not like it is in South Africa,” said Mark Turner, Africa Director for Massmart Holdings, a unit of US retailer Wal-Mart. Massmart currently has two stores in Nigeria, with another opening in the coming weeks – compared with 300 in South Africa.

Turner said he could see the company opening as many as 15 stores in Nigeria, if the country could deepen development. Yet the market attraction of Nigeria’s growing middle class is already there – Shoprite just opened a store in Kano, despite the threat of an insurgency in the north, and a Massmart ‘Game’ store will soon join it there.

But Nigeria’s growing inequalities add to “political risks, as a result of perceived marginalisation,” said Razia Khan, chief Africa economist at Standard Chartered Bank. Unless something is done to lift the impoverished masses, the risk of social unrest, already being reaped in a bloody insurgency in the destitute northeast and oil theft in the south, will grow.

She said: “The pressure on the authorities to create some sort of social safety net in response will be significant.”

Source: Engineeringnews.co.za

2014 Africa Transformation ReportThe inaugural Africa Transformation Report ranks Mauritius as the most economically transformed country out of 21 sub-Saharan African countries measured in its African Transformation Index, which takes account of a country’s economic diversification, export competitiveness, productivity, state of technology upgrading and human wellbeing.

The continent’s largest economy, South Africa, ranks second and Côte d’Ivoire third, while Nigeria, Burundi and Burkina Faso prop up the index.

The ranking has been included within a larger 207-page study, which cautions that, while many African economies are growing strongly, most economies are not transforming sufficiently to support a sustainable reduction in poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Six of the world’s fastest growing economies are currently in Africa, including Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and Rwanda, while several others are expanding at growth rates of over 6% a year. However, much of this grow is still premised on the extraction and export of natural resources and is not being broadly spread, leaving more than 80% of the continent’s labour force employed in low-productivity farming, or informal urban business activities.

Compiled over a three-year period by Ghana’s African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) in partnership with South Africa’s Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (Mistra), the study urges African governments to position economic transformation ahead of growth at the centre of their economic and development policies.

Speaking at a launch in Johannesburg, lead author and ACET chief economist Dr Yaw Ansu said growth was “good” and had arisen as a result of macroeconomic reforms, better business environments and higher commodity prices.

“But economic transformation requires much more,” Ansu stressed, arguing that countries needed to diversify their production and exports, become more competitive and productive, while upgrading the technologies they employed in production processes.

ACET president Dr KY Amoako said the transformation narrative had already been accepted by the African Union in its Vision 2063, as well as by the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. He added that the African Transformation Index provided policymakers with a quantitative measure for assessing their transformation performance and for guiding future strategies.

Mistra executive director Joel Netshitenzhe argued that to turn growth into an “actual lived experience” for Africa’s citizens there was the urgent need to form national social compacts between government, business and civil society to support transformation.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan emphasised the same point in his recent Budget address, when he highlighted the work being done to secure a social compact to reduce poverty and inequality and raise employment and investment. Gordhan stressed this could not be a “pact amongst elites, a coalition amongst stakeholders with vested interests. Nor can it be built on populist slogans or unrealistic promises”.

“Our history tells us that progress has to be built on a vision and strategy shared by leaders and the people – a vision founded on realism and evidence,” the Minister stressed.

Netshitenzhe also highlighted the report’s emphasis on coupling growth with social development. “In fact, rather than merely being a consequence of economic growth, a reduction in poverty and general human development can be part of the drivers of economic growth.”

The report highlights key transformation drivers as being:

  • Fostering partnerships between governments and the private sector to facilitate entrepreneurship, investment and technology upgrading.
  • Promoting exports, particularly outside of the natural resources sector.
  • Building technical knowledge and skills.
  • And, pushing ahead with regional integration.

Four transformation pathways are also highlighted, including labour-intensive manufacturing; kick-starting agroprocessing value chains, improving the management of oil, gas and minerals; and boosting tourism.

“It’s good that we are growing – we are no longer the hopeless continent. We can transform this hope into reality, but to do that governments must put transformation at the top of their agendas,” Ansu asserted.

He also called on African citizens to begin to demand transformation. “Ask your government, how come we are not diversifying? How come our productivity remains stuck? How come our technological levels and our exports are not growing?” Source: Engineering News

Chris Kirubi is a leading Kenyan businessman [www.kenyan-post.com]

Chris Kirubi is a leading Kenyan businessman [www.kenyan-post.com]

Frustration over Africa’s disparate tax, travel, investment and trading regimes boiled over yesterday as Chris Kirubi, a leading Kenyan businessman and one of the wealthiest people on the continent, tore into South Africa’s failure to be a leading light in opening up the continent for business. Kirubi was a participant in a panel discussion at the “Africa: The Outlook, the Opportunity” event hosted by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg in downtown Johannesburg.

To underscore his frustration, the outspoken Kirubi questioned why African travel businesses kept going to Europe and North America to sell African tourism, leaving behind Africans like him who needed no further convincing about visiting Africa. “Open markets are not happening yet. We must open markets for people, goods and services,” Kirubi said. “South Africa needs to take leadership by opening up for smaller countries. How many of us have been allowed to invest here?”

His sentiments on the issue of openness were echoed by Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus, who said the focus in Africa should be about co-operation and less about competition. Marcus, who seemed rather at ease five days after a slide in global emerging market currencies prompted her to hike interest rates, said the issue was “how do we use our different strength to benefit Africa as a whole”. She said co-operation would be particularly critical in dealing with three core challenges facing the continent: water, food and energy.

To illustrate what was possible if African governments worked together to create a more open investment environment, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the vice-president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said there was an emerging notion in west Africa, in terms of which Ghana was seen as the gateway and Nigeria as the destination.

He added that the NSE was planning to visit the JSE in the coming months to explore areas of possible co-operation. In that regard, as an economic powerhouse, South Africa had an important role to play in reshaping how Africa did business, not only with the rest of the world but more importantly with itself.

“There are major issues we are not addressing and it is an issue of laws,” added Kirubi, who is also the east Africa chairman of a joint venture with Tiger Brands, South Africa’s biggest consumer goods company.

On tax, he asked why South Africa and Kenya did not have a tax agreement and why he needed to go via Mauritius each time he needed to open a holding company. “We have a problem. We’ve got to wake up.”

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was also among the panellists. He acknowledged that there were “huge challenges” in the mining sector, but reiterated the need for perspective on issues relating to labour strikes. “There is a lot of good work being done. In the next few years, skills development and training will be [enhanced] a lot more.” Source: Business Report

Reality Check

The ongoing global financial and economic crisis affects governments,  organisations and citizens in different ways. It would seem that no individual or any organisation has the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ to normalise the situation either. Today, probably most Customs and Border agencies are undergoing ‘modernisation’ or some form of restructuring. Modernisation in itself implies automation or digitization of information changing the lives of the average customs (border) official as well as the expectations and predictability of service to traders and trade intermediaries around the world. 9/11 forever changed the role of Customs and for most of governments, border regulatory authorities as well. Changes in Customs have since been focussed on alignment to policy, standards and guidelines as advocated by the WCO.

WCO Startegic PlanNational adoption of these remains the foremost critical step in establishing a country’s ability to ‘connect’ with the world. A national administration should seek inclusivity of its trading community lest its modernisation be regarded as self-serving. Simultaneously, regional economic communities also seek radical change, albeit on a regionalisation level. Pressures on national (sovereign) nations develop given high-level political commitment to regionalisation, often without taking into account their respective countries’ state of readiness. This creates a false sense of commitment which results in regional failures. Behind such regional initiatives are normally a host of sponsors, purportedly with the right experts and solutions to rectify the ‘barriers’ which prevent a national state from integrating with its neighbours and global partners. Sound familiar? If so, it wouldn’t do national representatives any harm to refresh themselves with the under mentioned WCO tools and validate this in relation to the direction which their organisation is headed. These form part of the WCO’s Customs’ in the 21st Century Agenda. It is also recommended reading for the various regional economic communities (RECs) – here I refer to the African continent – who are not always au fait or fully appraised on the ‘readiness’ landscape of the member states they represent.

The Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) is currently a matter of high priority at the World Customs Organization (WCO). Economic competitiveness starts with trade facilitation and Customs administrations undeniably play an important role in this respect. Indeed, facilitating trade is one of the WCO’s key objectives and the Organization has contributed, through its tools and instruments as well as through technical assistance, to increasing the economic competitiveness and growth of Members.

The Revenue Package (RP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) was developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in response to WCO Members’ concerns in regard to falling revenue returns in the light of the global financial crisis and declining duty rates.

Significant progress has been made since the adoption of the WCO Capacity Building Strategy in 2003. However, new and emerging key strategic drivers impact on international trade and the roles and responsibilities of Customs administrations. This requires that all our capacity building efforts remain responsive and needs-driven to ensure beneficiary Customs administrations can obtain the support they need to pursue their reform and modernization. This Organisational Development Package (ODP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) outlines the basic approach of the WCO towards organizational development. It provides a simple and accessible overview of the texts, tools and instruments that relate to this topic. It refers and offers access to these resources but does not purport to capture all knowledge and practices within this extensive area.

The Compliance and Enforcement Package (CEP) (Click the hyperlink for more information) has been developed in order to assist Members to address the high-risk areas for Customs enforcement. The Customs in the 21st Century Strategy calls on Customs administrations to implement modern working methods and techniques. In this context, Customs should be equipped with the necessary tools that allow it to effectively manage supply chain risks and enforce laws and regulations in cases of non-compliance. In discharging this mandate, the WCO, in close co-operation with Members, has created an extensive library of instruments, tools, guidance materials and operational co-ordination activities to support Customs compliance and enforcement actions. These tools new form part of the CEP.

 

Nigeria Trade Hub 2The WCO Single Window Experts Accreditation Workshop took place on 23rd – 27th September, 2013 at Customs Border Control Training Centre (CBCTC), Seoul, Korea. The objectives of the workshop included:

  • Promoting the work of Single Window
  • Developing expertise meant for executive management
  • Developing different expertise in other technical areas of Single Window.

Developing this expertise brought about the WCO Data Model and SW accreditation Workshop as there are several areas where experts can emerge, including areas of Business processes, Legal, Data Model etc. The past efforts in capacity building served as a guide to developing the program for the workshop. The expectation included shaping assistance and building capacity in the areas of Single Window.

The participants included representatives from Nigeria, Mauritius, Chile, Singapore, Tanzania, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Russia Federation, Saudi Arabia and Korea. Three out of the ten participants (Nigeria, Singapore, Mauritius) were accredited Co-Facilitator Status for the World Customs Organization at the end of the workshop. This demonstrates that Nigeria is certainly moving in the right direction and aligning to International Standards. Source: Nigeria Trade Hub

fDI 2013-14 Rankings for Africa

fDI 2013-14 Rankings for Africa

South Africa has been crowned as the African Country of the Future for 2013/14 by fDi Magazine, One of the economic powerhouses of the African continent, South Africa has been named fDi Magazine’s African Country of the Future 2013/14, with Morocco in second position and Mauritius in third. New entries into the top 10 include Nigeria and Botswana. Click here to access the full report!

South Africa has consistently outperformed its African neighbours in FDI attraction since fDi Markets records began in 2003. Figures for 2012 build upon South Africa’s historical prominence as an FDI destination with the country attracting about one-fifth of all investments into the continent – more than double its closest African rival, Morocco. In 2012, FDI into South Africa amounted to $4.6bn-worth of capital investment and the creation of almost 14,000 jobs.

South Africa claimed the title of fDi’s African Country of the Future 2013/14 by performing well across most categories, obtaining a top three position for Economic Potential, Infrastructure and Business Friendliness. Its attractiveness to investors is evident in its recent FDI performance, where the country defied the global trend with 2011 and 2012 figures surpassing its pre-crisis 2008 statistics. Despite a slight decline of 3.9% in 2012, South Africa increased its market share of global FDI, which further increased in the first five months of 2013 as the country attracted 1.37% of global greenfield investment projects. According to fDi Markets, South Africa now ranks as the 16th top FDI destination country in the world.

South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, was the top destination for FDI into Africa and is one of only five African cities that attracted more investments in the first five months of 2013 compared to the same period of 2012. South Africa ranked third behind the US and the UK as a top source market for the African continent in 2012, accounting for 9.2% of FDI projects.

In 2010, South Africa became the ‘S’ of the BRICS – five major emerging national economies made up by Brazil, Russia, India and China. While FDI into South Africa fell 3.9% in 2012, this was the lowest recorded decline of the BRICS grouping which, on average, experienced a 20.7% decline in FDI. In its submission for fDi’s African Countries of the Future 2013/14, Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) stresses the importance of the country’s attachments to its BRICS partners. Source: fDI Magazine

201215124949311580_20Kano Inland Container Port is scheduled to commence operations by the end of this year, Chairman Governing Board Nigerian Shippers Council, Lieutenant General Salihu Ibrahim (Rtd) has said.

According to him, all gray areas that cause the delay in the processing and documentation of Kano port which affects the commencement of operations has been resolved.

Speaking during an interactive dinner session organized by Nigerian Shippers Council, North West zone, the chairman stressed that the council is all out to ease some of the transaction difficulties faced by shippers in Nigeria. He added that commencing operation at the inland ports will absolutely ensure reduction of about 90% in the expenses incurred during shipments of goods. According to him, all things being equal, Kano inland port is hoped to be fully operational at the end of 2013. Source: Daily Trust (Nigeria)

Port of Lagos, Nigeria

Port of Lagos, Nigeria

The following article, allbeit long, provides a good overview of trade facilitation developments in Nigeria. I doubt that there is a single country on the African continent that cannot draw some parallel experience contained in this article.

Trade across borders is not a new phenomenon. But the World Trade Organization is now championing the concept of trade facilitation among nations, which has been defined as simplication , harmonization, standardization and modernization of trade procedures.

Trade facilitation seeks to reduce trade transaction between businesses and government. This concept is receiving unprecedented attention globally and it is at the heart of numerous initiatives within the customs world.

The United Nations Centre for Trade facilitation and Electronic business (UN/CEFACT) in its recommendation No 4 of 1974, said trade facilitation programme ought to be guided by simplication, harmonization and standardization (of trade procedures) so that transaction becomes easier, quicker and more economical than before.

According to the body, there was need to eliminate duplication in formalities, process and procedures; align all national formalities, procedures operation and documentation with international conventions, standard and practices to develop international agreed format for practices, procedures, documentation and information in international trade.

Proponent of trade facilitation believed that if transaction cost in international trade is reduced, there could be creation of wealth, especially in developing countries where red-tapism and other procedural barriers to trade tend to be pronounced.

The organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimated recently that even one per cent reduction in such “hidden cost” would boost the global economy by $40 billion with most of these benefits going to the developing world. Trade facilitation therefore encourages, or perhaps requires countries to adopt means such as publishing their imports and export procedures, reducing the number of forms that importers and exporters are required to complete, allowing forms to be submitted on-line, and checking corruption at border post.

Nigeria, though a signatory to Kyoto 1974 and other convention on trade facilitation, is far from embracing the ideals of the global concept.

The president of the council of Managing Directors of Customs licensed Agents, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, said that although Nigeria was yet to comply with all the provisions of trade facilitation, it has the tools to facilitate international trade, such as the scanning machines and the e-platform.

“In Nigeria, the real cost of doing business is an impediment to trade facilitation. We have no good procedure for goods on transit to Niger and Chad. That has been taken over now by our neighboring countries. One of the key component of trade facilitation is charges which must be tied to services. We have shortcoming in that area. We are still working at cross purposes when other countries are busy harmonizing their import and export procedures”, he said.

In Nigeria, there is no one stop shop process for goods clearance as we have over 10 agencies superintending goods clearing procedure at the nation’s gateways.

“This is very bad and constitute hindrance to trade. The regulatory process is supposed to have been harmonized with other agencies to have a one stop procedures. Procedures are not published and not in line with WTO article which has to do with publication, regulation and administration of procedures. Our trading regime are expensive, our procedures are cumbersome. When others are simplifying and synchronizing their process of import and exports, our import and export procedures are lengthy. We have not been able to harmonise process and procedures and that is where we have a problem. If you still have to go through 100 per cent examination when we have the scanners, that is an impediment to trade,” Amiwero said; adding that the time spent to conclude business in Nigerian ports and border post is much higher than anywhere in the West African sub-region.

The level of corruption at the port border post is high and making them the most expensive business environment in Africa; as un-receipted charges far outweigh the official charges in the process of good clearing. Importers are still submitting hard documents instead of making use of e-devices, and going through the cumbersome process of clearing and receiving of consignments. Continue Reading…

TCredit - Photobuckethe United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNTAD) yesterday ranked Nigeria Africa’s number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Africa for the second time in two years. The latest UNCTAD report, entitled, “Global Value Chains: Investment and Trade for Development”, put Nigeria’s FDI inflows at $7.03billion while South Africa recorded $4.572bn; Ghana, $3.295bn; Egypt, $2.798bn and Angola, 6.898bn; among others.

According to the report, FDI inflows to African countries went up by five per cent to $50bn in 2012, though global FDI declined by 18 per cent. The report noted that most of the FDIs into Africa mainly driven by the extractive industry, but said there was an increase in investments in consumer-oriented manufacturing and services.

Global FDI fell by 18 per cent to $1.35 trillion in 2012. This sharp decline was in stark contrast to other key economic indicators such as GDP, international trade and employment, which all registered positive growth at the global level,” which was attributed to economic fragility and policy uncertainty in a number of major economies, giving rise to caution among investors.

It added that developing countries take the lead in 2012 for the first time ever, accounting for 52 per cent of global FDI flows. This is partly because the biggest fall in FDI inflows occurred in developed countries, which now account for only 42 per cent of global flows. In 2011, Nigeria was ranked Africa’s biggest destination for FDI, with total inflows of $8.92bn, South Africa followed with $5.81bn, while Ghana received $3.22bn. Source: AllAfrica.com

 

Nigeria Trade Hub 2Anyone familiar with the import and export business in Nigeria will recall how tedious the process used to be. It could take days or even weeks to complete due to ceaseless documentation that importers, exporters and their agents had to endure with the various regulatory agencies. Now, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has developed a web-based application known as the Nigeria Trade Hub Portal, simplifying the entire process and providing information and guidance for international trade business processors in the areas of import, export and transit trade.

The www.nigeriatradehub.gov.ng portal, a non-restrictive and is an intuitive and interactive platform for classifying goods. Through it, trade processors are enabled to find exact Harmonised System Codes (HS Codes) required for related tariffs and duties.

This latest technology is expected to enhance compliance by traders and avail them the required information on tariff in areas like the prohibited items and taxes/levies due for payment upon importation. The application is also designed to touch on the aspect of trade facilitation such that trade processors can access information from all related government agencies. Guidelines and procedures for obtaining permits, licences and certificates of specified commodity and country of origin that a trade will require for business processing are also available on the portal.

The Nigeria Trade Hub portal allows traders to convert currencies to exchange rates set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on a monthly basis, make payments, simulate tax and access the CPC Code. The application goes further to provide the tax and duties payable on any particular item, whilst presenting the user with the documents, i.e., the named permits or certificates required for the product, the issuing agency, the processing cost as well as the duration (no of days) for processing. This empowers the trader and provides them with sound information to assist them in competing on the international market.

A mobile Android App is also available on the Google Play store, and other platforms are to be rolled out soon. Source: Nigeria Trade Hub, Suleiman Uba Gaya and Valentina Minta (West Blue Consulting).

Trade policy - a balancing actThe Federal Government of Nigeria is set to change its trade policy from the present Free on Board (FOB) to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) which most countries across the world use because of its economic benefits, before the end of the year. FOB makes it mandatory for the buyer to determine who ships and insures the goods to his port of destination while the CIF ensures that the seller determines who ships and who insures the goods brought from him. Presently, goods bought from Nigeria are on FOB basis while Nigerian trade with other nations is on a CIF basis.

Disclosing the position of the federal government to Vanguard in Houston, Texas at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), Leke Oyewole, Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, said work has been completed on the document for a change in policy so as to help indigenous operators. (?)

The Economic Management Team (EMT) is to take a final look at the policy before returning it to the President for it to be signed into law.

Asked whether the policy would be reversed before the end of the year, the Special Adviser to the President said, ” I am hopeful, am very hopeful, but you also know that if today the President signs the policy into law, Nigerians would not begin by tomorrow. We need to give time sufficient enough for Nigerians to acquire vessels to begin to carry.”

He noted that the country presently “operates on FOB, in which case, as soon as we put cargo onboard the ship, foreign funds are released to Nigeria. When we go on CIF, it will mean waiting until delivery of cargo, before the money will come into Nigeria. There will be a gap, that gap most not be too wide otherwise it will hamper the national funding because we get most of our revenue from these products (petroleum products). Source: Vanguard, Lagos.