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As part of effort aimed at facilitating the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has approved the reduction in documentation of import and export of goods in and out of the country from 14 to 8 and 10 to 7 respectively. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Jumoke Oduwole who disclosed this at a sensitization workshop on the Ease of Doing Business Reform organised by the Nigeria Customs Service yesterday in Lagos said the directive is with immediate effect. She said the new directive is part of the reforms in the 60 -day national action plan for ease of doing business which is expected to end by April. Dr. Oduwole who is also the secretary to the council said the committee has identified trading across borders as one of the critical area in need of reform in the Nigeria economy. “In our diversification push it is impossible to really import and export without functioning ports. So we have scoped and started working in October 2016 on entry and exit of goods. We have been working with Customs, Nigerian Port Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, terminal operators to identify key problems. “We have released some directives to the Finance Ministry, the CG of customs has also issue some directives on palletization of goods coming to Nigeria and on amount of documentation because we want to save cost and time for SME’s and anybody exporting or importing into Nigeria. So documentation for imports has been reduced from 14 to 8 and export from 10 to 7 and this is with immediate effect. “Trading across borders, starting business, getting credit, dealing with construction permits, paying taxes, registering properties and getting electricity are key indices of the reforms initiated by PEBEC ” she said. Oduwole said the reform was basically to move Nigeria 20 steps ahead on the rank of ease of doing business and thus make it an easy place to do business. She added that PEBEC has implemented the upgrade of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) online portal to ensure document upload capabilities for new businesses to be registered online without having to visit the CAC office. Also speaking, a Deputy Controller of Customs, Anthony Ayalogu while highlighting some of the NCS reforms on ease of doing business at the ports said cargo release order, letter of credit, manufacturer’s certificate of production, payment receipt of customs fee among others have been removed from documentation. Ayalogu also reeled out new PEBEC procedures on importation and exportation of goods into and out of Nigeria to include palletising all containerized consignments coming into Nigeria. He said, “Used spare parts must be packed in cases and the case packed in pallets. The packing list of the containers must be itemised as the goods are arranged in the containers. “Vehicles imports should have the complete 17 digits VIN inscribed on the bill of laden. All form M goods should have the form M number stated on the Bill of Laden and all diplomatic goods indicated on Bill of Laden.” Earlier, representative of the Comptroller General of Customs, Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) Tariff and Trade, Gabriel Alu said the programme was organized to improve on the dismal ranking of Nigeria in the ease of doing business. He said the Service is also working towards embracing full automation of its processes to reduce human contact. “Part of our business is trade facilitation and that is creating an enabling environment for people to do business easily in the country. If we automate, it is going to be for our own advantage because it will help reduce human contact. These are areas where we have challenges such as corruption but when we automate, it will reduce human contact,” he said.

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