11 January 2014, Lagos – THE Federal Government has expressed concern over the poor implementation of its fiscal and trade policies particularly implementation of port policies with regards to cargo clearance.
Speaking at the inauguration of a Ministerial Committee on import clearance practices and implementation of fiscal policies, Director-General of Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu said that the government has been inundated with petitions with regards to the modus operandi for cargo clearance at the ports.
Okogu stated the objectives for instituting fiscal policies are not being realised at the level of implementation of such policies.
He noted the import clearnce at the ports are at variance with relevant statues and guidelines, and consequently impact on trade facilitation.
He explained that as a listening government, the FG believes stakeholders’ representations on policies provide an opportunity for assessing the performance of such policies.
He said, “ In this particular case, Government is interested in ensuring that fiscal policies achieve their objectives of stimulating investment in critical sectors such as power agriculture and steel.
“We also want to assure all users of our ports that government will encourage practice that would in the long run, reverse the long standing sub-optimsing ulitisation of the ports which continue to impact negatively on public revenue and normal trade.
“Government is aware of the diversion of businesses to neighbouring ports and the crippling effects of smuggling due, in part, to the challenging clearnce procedures in the ports.
“It is in our national interest to reverse the current situation of things at the ports with a view to significantly increasing the volume of trade passing through them “.
He urged members of the Committee to discharge their duties with subsisting legislation and administrative circulars issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The budget office boss advised them to consult as widely as possible with a view to submitting a report that will proffer implementable solutions.
Member of the Committee were drawn from the Nigeria Customs Service, Budget Office, Ministry Finance, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NAMDLCA)and National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA)
*Godwin Oritse, Vanguard