Tinubu Targets $4 Billion in Annual Savings with Bureaucracy Cutbacks Plan

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President Bola Tinubu announced on Tuesday that Nigeria could gain approximately $2.7 billion annually by implementing the Single Window Project.

He emphasized that this initiative could also save the country at least $4 billion lost annually due to complex bureaucracies and corruption that hinder trade efficiency.

Tinubu made these remarks during the inauguration of the National Single Window project, a new digital trade compliance initiative, at the Council Chamber of the State House in Abuja.

The Single Window project aims to streamline trade processes by providing a single online platform for Nigerian and international trade stakeholders to access various resources and standardized services offered by different Nigerian agencies.

Tinubu highlighted that this initiative would expedite cargo movement and enhance inter-African trade, ultimately facilitating $2.7 billion worth of annual paperless trade.

While acknowledging that the economy cannot continue to bear annual losses of $4 billion, the Nigerian leader issued a directive to the Presidential Steering Committee on the National Single Window Project to eliminate all obstacles hindering trade efficiency.

By doing so, Nigeria aims to align itself with countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia, which have seen notable improvements in trade efficiency following the implementation of a single window system, the president emphasized.

He said: “We cannot afford to lose an estimated $4bn annually to red tape, bureaucracy, delays and corruption at our ports.

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“The benefits of this initiative are immense. The paperless trade alone is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7bn US dollars.

“Countries like Singapore, Korea, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvement in trade efficiency after implementing Single Window Systems. It is time for Nigeria to join their ranks and reap the reward of a streamlined, decentralised trade process.”

Tinubu lamented that despite Nigeria’s immense potential, characterized by a population known for resilience, creativity, and an unwavering spirit of enterprise, “for far too long, our economic growth has been hindered by the complexities and inefficiencies in our trade processes.”

“Today, we say that there should be no more,” he assured.

He described the National Single Window as a game-changer that will revolutionize the conduct of trade in the country, “by simplifying government trade compliance through a digital platform, we will unlock the doors to economic prosperity and all other opportunities.”

The President also highlighted that the National Single Window will prevent revenue leakage and facilitate more effective trade operations.

“By doing so, we will create a more transparent, secure and business-friendly environment that will attract investment and spur economic growth,” he added.

He assured the newly inaugurated steering committee of his full support, acknowledging that implementing the National Single Window “will not be an overnight process.”

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“It requires dedication, collaboration and a phased approach. But I assure you, my fellow brothers and sisters, that we are fully committed to seeing this project through.

“We will work tirelessly to ensure its success by engaging all partner agencies and stakeholders to create a system that works for every one of us,” Tinubu stated.

The President charged the committee to eliminate any obstacles they encounter, expressing his readiness to consider new ideas to ensure the success of the initiative.

“Dismantle all block webs along your way. I will be ready to listen to conversations, your discoveries, to any problem-solving areas that will make the Single Window a big success,” he remarked.

Tinubu, serving as the Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, argued that the Single Window Project extends beyond Nigeria. He emphasized that by integrating its system with those of other African nations, “we will expedite cargo movement and optimize inter-Africa trade.”

He urged all Nigerians to embrace the initiative wholeheartedly, appealing, “Let us work together as one nation to ensure the National Single Window becomes a resounding success.”

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“This initiative is a testament to our commitment to regional integration and our belief in the power of collaboration.

“Let us show the world that Nigeria is ready to take its rightful place as one of the leaders in global trade,” the President urged.

Briefing State House correspondents afterward, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Bello Koko, affirmed that imports would be cleared at all seaports within 24 hours, despite taking 72 hours in neighboring countries.

Koko emphasized that the Single Window initiative will streamline the paperwork involved in import and export transactions, as relevant government agencies will now share information through a unified platform.

“So, for clearance, the target is 24 hours. Of course, we know what is obtainable in neighbouring countries, it’s 48 to 72, but the target is actually 24 hours,” he asserted.

Koko highlighted that key shipment details such as type, year of manufacture, Form M, and cargo weight, among others, will be unified for seamless sharing across government agencies.

He explained, “So, we are trying to unify this information in such a way that you fill as little as possible and all related government agencies that are in the value-chain of import or export processing, should be able to pick the information they need from there. So, you can see the picture here. We are reducing the current numbers.

“The second thing is it’s not going to be printed. So, the efficiency it brings here is that you can fill it in your bedroom and your offices.

“Shipping lines, freight forwarders, Nigerian Customs, NPA and so on should be able to process your requests, whether it’s in terms of import or export. That is the target.”

Mr. Tola Fakolade leads the project secretariat, with members including representatives from various government agencies:

  • Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Marine and Blue Economy
  • Federal Ministry of Transportation
  • Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment
  • Federal Inland Revenue Service
  • Nigerian Customs Service
  • Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority
  • Central Bank of Nigeria
  • National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control
  • Standards Organisation of Nigeria
  • Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
  • Nigerian Ports Authority
  • Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council
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