Export cargoes that leave Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, face large rejections in the international market space, particularly in America and Europe, as a result of quality issues. The National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) stated that exporters and the Nigerian economy are experiencing massive financial losses as more than 70 percent of the agricultural products and food items that go through exportation out of the country face rejection by potential buyers.
Director general of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye, faulted the poor export trade facilitation at the airport and seaport of the country for the problems experienced by regulated products that leave the country for the international markets. According to findings, export containers take more than one month to secure access to the seaport in order to leave the country. This delay affects truckers and is largely caused by the bottlenecks in the sector.
This delay compromises the quality of the products.
Although truckers who are responsible for transporting containers from the warehouses of exporters to the port are affected, this delay tells on the time the products ought to have left the shores of the country to its destination port and compromises the products’ quality. Itunu Shonibare, a truck owner, said that it takes them as long as one month to transport containers from the warehouse of exporters to the port as a result of delays faced on the checkpoints on roads that lead to Lagos ports.
According to the NAFDAC director general, export trade is facing a lot of challenges in the port, which is the reason why truck owners are refusing to lift cargoes leaving the country. The challenge this sector is currently experiencing was also confirmed by Mohammed Sani, another truck owner, who said trucks bearing cargo containers are being sent back at checkpoints upon refusal of the driver to oblige to paying bribe, despite owning valid electronic call-up tickets.
Nigeria has to be deliberate in its enhancement of the trade.
He added that export goods are supposed to be a source of foreign exchange generation and ratification of balance of payment deficit in the country, providing employment opportunities and improving the economy, but the opposite is the case. Security personnel pass empty containers instead of passing actual export containers, which is considered an economic sabotage that requires the intervention of the government. Concerned by the effects of these challenges on the sector, other stakeholders in concerned sectors spoke on the matter.
Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), Soji Apampa, in a recent statement in Lagos, said that the adverse effect of mounting checkpoints along the road to the port is very much affecting the cargoes that have to go through the port, particularly export. Assistant general manager of tariff and billing at the Nigerian Ports Authority, Olufunmilayo Olotu, stated that if Nigeria is ready to address issues of trade imbalance, it must be deliberate in its efforts towards the enhancement of export trade.
The country has to work on its reputation deficiency.
Additionally, she emphasised on the need for the country and concerned sectors to improve their integrity through the introduction of transparency and professionalism into things that are done for the international community; this will erase the “anything goes” reputation of the country. She added that Nigeria has to work on its reputation deficiency because International countries do not trust commodities from Nigeria but prefer the same goods when it is imported from neighbouring West African countries.
International Trade Administration: Website