Nigeria’s international trade hurt by bureaucracy, sharp practices

Bloated bureaucratic processes, sharp practices and increased trade cost are frustrating Nigeria’s trade with other countries, trade experts say.

The experts, who spoke at the induction ceremony of African Centre for Supply Chain (ACSC) held in Lagos, said that the challenges have made the Single Window initiative introduced by the government ineffective.

“There is still much documentation involved with export and import processes in Nigeria, even with the single window portal. The old processes of pre-shipment inspection and destination inspection are still in place till date,” said Sonny Allison founder, Red Star Express Plc and board member, Association of Outsourcing Professionals of Nigeria (AOPN).

“Sharp practice is also another major challenge we all encounter in trade facilitation. The system has become corrupt to the extent that even the traders are largely involved. Our cost of doing business becomes high because traders are frustrated into paying for every single step,” Allison said.

To address the challenges, Allison, who is also the founder and executive chairman of GMC Logistics Limited, urged the government to make the single window platform fully functional with all stakeholders— including the banks and insurance companies— integrated into the system to ease waiting time for traders.

He called on the government to prioritise trade facilitation actions and mobilise technical assistance as well as investing in well-functioning logistic sector to further facilitate trade.

Obiora Madu, director general, ACSC Council, said the country trade facilitation has been very slow owing to the absence of critical infrastructure such as motorable roads and rail.

Madu also stated that lack of data for the industry is a major threat to the country’s drive to boost trade.

“Data is a very big problem and challenge to trade facilitation in Nigeria and Africa. Logistics managers are just groping in the dark because of lack of data for the sector,” he said.

He called for the collaboration of members in the contribution and collation of data for the industry.

The director general spoke about how the vision and mission of ACSC have helped the association to grow over the years, transforming into a continental representative in the African Union Continental Free Trade Alliance.

A total of seven fellows were admitted into ACSC during the induction ceremony.


Josephine Okojie

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