By Ajibola Abayomi,
The Federal Government has given importers and exporters of containerised goods into Nigeria up till January 1, 2018 to key into full implementation of palletization policy recently introduced.
Meanwhile, all containerised goods already loaded for shipment into Nigeria have up till the end of December, 2017 to be shipped as they were said not to be affected by the policy.
The recent interception of illegally imported riffles into the country concealed and declared as other goods through the seaport in Lagos, informed the decisions for the palletization policy to make way for proper examination of containerised goods by customs personnel.
Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) saddled with the responsibilities to enforce the policy have also been put on alert to adhere strictly to the regulation as well as transmit same to relevant stakeholders under their jurisdictions.
Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, gave the hint in Lagos, Thursday at a sensitisation workshop on the 2017 revised import and export guidelines.
Adeosun, who was represented at the workshop by Mrs. Olubunmi Siyanbola, Director, Home Finance of the Federal Ministry of Finance stated that the workshop was to take place earlier than now, to allow a three-month grace period before full implementation of the guidelines.
She added that the actualisation of the plan was not possible owing to unforseen circumstances but quipped that every stakeholder was already aware of the policy.
She said, “After due consultation with the relevant key stakeholders, MDAs, the effective date for full implementation of the guidelines was agreed upon, taking into account the need to give allowance for imports already prepared for shipment into Nigeria.
“On this note, I wish to announce that the export and import guidelines will be fully implemented with effect from 1/1/2018.
“However, goods already loaded for shipment to Nigeria prior to this date will not be affected by the palletization policy. Let me also say that we have examined all concerns expressed by the trading public regarding the palletization policy of the government,”
She also enjoined all stakeholders in the export and import trade value chain to study the guidelines and play their respective roles effectively.
She furrher reiterated that the guidelines might not be perfect to address all concerns but that government would monitor the implementation of the policy closely to address all emerging hiccups and unforseen situations.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mamoud Isa-Dutse said the policy became imperative as a result of complaints about the existence of physical and administrative impediments to smooth export and import operations in Nigeria.
He therefore said that the policy was expedient as Nigeria has declined from 181 to 183 position in the World Bank’s 2018 report in terms of trading across borders.
Isa-Dutse who was represented at the sensitisation workshop by the Director of Press, Salisu Nainna maintained that there was need to remove obsolete provisions and also take volatile business environment into account.