By Oyeniyi Iwakun
The Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS) has announced its readiness to promote trade among exporters and importers and vowed to eliminate every form of corruption in the agency to ensure ease of doing business in tandem with recent executive order signed by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The Executive Secretary of NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe made this known in Lagos on Thursday, July 3rd, 2017 during a stakeholder’s interactive workshop between NAQS, Freight Forwarders and Shippers facilitated by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to fashion new ways of achieving seamlessness in export and import of agricultural produce in Nigeria.
In his opening remark, the NSC’s Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Hassan Bello said NSC has fully keyed into the transformation agenda, hence its tireless efforts in working with relevant agencies to ensure that a conducive atmosphere is created for economic activities to thrive. “NSC visited NAQS and they agreed to discuss with freight forwarders in order to address issues affecting us”.
While welcoming the NAQS team, Mr. Bello urged for smooth deliberations with possible solutions, hammered on the need for Nigeria to diversify its economy and promised to bring in various regulators to address issues affecting the stakeholders. “NSC is looking in the direction of exportation to improve our economy and Nigeria as a nation stands to gain a lot in export activities. That’s why we are planning a joint seminar on export activities in Nigeria”.
The NAQS Secretary, Mr. Isegbe in his address acknowledged the advantages in regular deliberations but advocated compliance with standards among shippers and freight forwarders. ”there is nothing more beautiful and better than sitting down and discuss. We all have a common goal to carry out our activities by exporting our commodities out of Nigeria safely in compliance with international and national rules and standards and also to ensure that consignments are not cheated.
“Rusted and leaking containers should be done away with while clean and water containers should be used in carrying cargoes”. He stated.
To him, if all relevant stakeholders (NSC, NAQS, Exporters, Importers and cargo owners) cooperate and obey necessary rules and regulations, things would go on smoothly “I encourage you to do the proper things. If we all play by the rules, we will make Nigeria proud. I want you to know that it must be a win-win venture in activities with exports by all stakeholders”.
Following several complaints against officers of NAQS by some aggrieved shippers and freight forwarders, Dr.Isegbe vowed to investigate and sanction guilty officers but warned against false allegations or indictments “In cases of petitions, only genuine complaints should be made with verifiable evidences”.
The president, Lagos Shippers Association, Reverend Jonathan Icole who spoke on behalf of the union assured NAQS of its support and cooperation “we don’t have problems with your agency and rules”. Meanwhile, he lamented the corruption, extortion and undue delays orchestrated by officers of NAQS and other agencies at the ports. Hence, the “demands for an act of parliament to protect shippers and an enabling emvironment to control prices”.