Under-privileged Nigerians may soon begin to enjoy huge relief in foreign aids as Customs clearance on charity imports by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and small businesses is set to be addressed by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.
Making the disclosure to journalists, following a stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos recently, Special Adviser to the Deputy Senate President on NGOs, Princess Modupe Ozolua, said Omo-Agege’s initiative in bringing all stakeholders together to discuss possible policy shifts and amendments that will make charity imports reach the masses faster has finally paid off.
“As both a statesman and a philanthropist, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege knows firsthand that importing charitable items into the country most times, incurs high demurrage and leads to countless containers of aid being abandoned at ports. This is a huge economic loss and major disadvantage to underprivileged Nigerians who need these relief items.
“The Deputy Senate President therefore, mandated all stakeholders to create an inclusive solution. To achieve this, I was appointed Chairman of a committee of over 52 representatives from the National Assembly, Federal Government ministries and agencies, United Nations agencies, INGOs, NGOs, donor/developmental partners, port service operators, faith organisations and the diplomatic corps.
“Our committee will review and harmonise existing laws and policies regulating the importation of charitable items. We will then make recommendations for a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document for review and adaptation by the Nigerian government,” she said.
Omo-Agege’s initiative, Daily Sun gathered, has been lauded by non-profit sector specialists who say it is long overdue. The programme is in partnership with the Nigerian Shippers Council. The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, is the Deputy Chair of the committee.