By Doris Obinna
The challenges hitherto experienced by importers and exporters at the nation’s ports and borders may soon become a thing of the past, as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) are putting together strategies aimed at achieving standardization and harmonization of documents for export and import trade.
In a statement by NAFDAC’s resident media consultant, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday, the director-general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who stated this at a virtual meeting between the GATF and Nigerian officials, led by its project lead, Mr. Bernard Traynor, said the view was to simplify trade formalities and procedures and ultimately ensure ease of doing business in Nigeria.
According to Adeyeye, the project is being powered by the GATF: “It’s an organization that is being hosted by the Centre for International Private Enterprise, International Chambers of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum.
“The project in Nigeria is being implemented by the German Technical Cooperation, popularly known as GIZ. The alliance is supported by the governments of the U.S., Canada, Germany, Denmark and Australia through their respective agencies.”
Adeyeye, represented by Dr. Abimbola Adegboye, head of trade and international relations, at the agency, reiterated measures that NAFDAC has already put in place to ensure that there is a seamless and more robust operational procedure with export and import at the borders, and achieve cooperation among government agencies at the borders.
She said: “NAFDAC’s focus now is to ensure smooth trade facilitation and regulation. The operations of regulators should not pose an hinderance to trade transactions but facilitate them.
“We are focused on making sure that there are not so many interferences between the users of our facilities and ourselves. So, we try as much as possible to remove both human interferences under the guise of consultants. Because, more or less, they do not facilitate trade. They tend to distort it.
“Trade should be on the basis of safety and quality. If quality is not put into your product, it gives the country a bad name. They blacklist the company involved. The consumers are the losers because they do not have value for money and their health is compromised.”
She noted that these are the issues that the global alliance is trying to address, adding that “what will make all these visible and possible is to ensure that operations at the borders are seamless.”
On his part, the project manager of Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, Nigeria, Mr. David Okeku, said the title for the project was Standardization and Harmonization of Trade Formalities and Procedures in Nigeria. He stated that his organization was powered by the Centre for International Private Enterprise, International Chambers of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum.
“Being an alliance, we also have critical private sector partners,. which we work with: BLM, BSM, DHL, Mascline, UPS and Walmart.
“On a global scale, we have series of projects that we are currently implementing in Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, Senegal, Uganda and Latin America, Asia and Middle East countries.”