By Oluyinka Onigbinde
Against the backdrop of over 2600 arms ammunition imported into the country, the Federal government has given importers and exporters of containerised goods in Nigeria till January 1, 2018 to key into full implementation of palletization policy recently introduced.
The Palletization policy was introduced after series of importation of rifles and other assault weapons through concealment and false declaration by the importers
A pallet is a “portable, horizontal, rigid, composite platform used as (a) base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load; often equipped with superstructure.”
Palletization of cargoes involves the use of pallets for the packaging of goods, including containerised goods. Goods on a pallet are secured with strapping, stretch wrap or shrink wrap and shipped and enables organisations involved with import supervision, especially the Customs to effectively ascertain the content and quantity of the cargo.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop on the revised import and export guidelines over the weekend Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, who was represented at the workshop by Mrs. Olubunmi Siyanbola, Director, Home Finance of the Federal Ministry of Finance, explained that the workshop was to take place earlier than now, to allow a three-month grace period before full implementation of the guidelines.
She said that the actualisation of the plan was not possible owing to unforseen circumstances but claimed that every stakeholder was already aware of the policy.
According to her “After due consultation with the relevant key stakeholders, MDAs, the effective date for full implementation of the guidelines was agreed upon, taking into account the need to give allowance for imports already prepared for shipment into Nigeria.
“On this note, I wish to announce that the export and import guidelines will be fully implemented with effect from January 1, 2018.
“However, goods already loaded for shipment to Nigeria prior to this date will not be affected by the palletization policy. Let me also say that we have examined all concerns expressed by the trading public regarding the palletization policy of the government,” she said.
She however urged all stakeholders in the export and import trade value chain to study the guidelines and play their respective roles effectively.
She further reiterated that the guidelines might not be perfect to address all concerns but that government would monitor the implementation of the policy closely to address all emerging hiccups and unforeseen situations.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mamoud Isa-Dutse, said the policy became imperative as a result of complaints about the existence of physical and administrative impediments to smooth export and import operations in Nigeria.
He said the policy was expedient as Nigeria has declined from 181 to 183 position in the World Bank’s 2018 report in terms of trading across borders.
Isa-Dutse who was represented at the sensitisation workshop by the Director of Press, Salisu Nainna, maintained that there was need to remove obsolete provisions and also take volatile business environment into account.