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Financial leakages: Tinubu launches national single window initiative to boost revenue generation, streamline import/export trade process

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.As FG begins disbursement of N200bn palliative loans

.First Lady flags off Renewed Hope initiative programme for S/West women

 

 

President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday launched the National Single Window initiative, a transformative project that will propel the nation’s economy to new heights.

 

The initiative is another bold testament to the President’s commitment to breaking long-standing developmental barriers in advancing the progress, prosperity, and well-being of every Nigerian.

 

 

 

Speaking at the launch of the initiative at the State House, President Tinubu said the National Single Window is a game-changer that will revolutionize the way trade is conducted in the country, and with the Office of the President overseeing the steering committee that will drive the reform process forward.

 

 

Outlining the benefits of the initiative, the President said by simplifying government trade compliance through a digital platform, Nigeria will unlock the doors to economic prosperity, adding: “This initiative will link our ports, government agencies, and key stakeholders, creating a seamless and efficient system that will facilitate trade like never before.”

 

 

 

The President further explained that paperless trade alone is estimated to bring an annual economic benefit of around $2.7 billion, noting that countries like Singapore, South Korea, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia have already seen significant improvements in trade efficiency after implementing Single Window systems.

 

 

 

“It is time for Nigeria to join their ranks and reap the rewards of a streamlined, digitized trade process. As your President, I have always believed in the immense potential of our great nation. We are a people blessed with resilience, creativity, and an unwavering spirit of enterprise. However, for far too long, our economic growth has been hindered by existing complexities and inefficiencies in our trade processes. Today, we say no more!

 

 

 

“Imagine a Nigeria where businesses can save time and resources, where small enterprises can reach global markets, and where the informal eCommerce sector is brought into the fold, increasing our tax revenue base. This is the Nigeria we are building with the National Single Window.

 

 

 

“We cannot afford to lose an estimated $4 billion annually due to red tape, delays, and corruption at our ports. The National Single Window will address these issues head-on, preventing revenue leakage and facilitating effective trade. By doing so, we will create a more transparent, secure, and business-friendly environment that will attract investment and spur economic growth,” the President said.

 

 

 

President Tinubu emphasized that the implementation of the National Single Window would not be an overnight process as it would require dedication, collaboration, and a phased approach in view of continental ramifications that extend far beyond national development imperatives alone.

 

 

 

“I assure you, my fellow Nigerians, that we are fully committed to seeing this project through. We will work tirelessly to ensure its success, engaging with all partner agencies and stakeholders to create a system that works for everyone.

 

 

 

“Moreover, the National Single Window is not just about Nigeria. By linking our system with those of other African nations, we will expedite cargo movement and optimize intra-Africa trade. This initiative is a testament to our commitment to regional integration and our belief in the power of collaboration.

 

 

 

“I call upon every Nigerian to embrace this initiative with open arms. Let us work together, as one nation, to make the National Single Window a resounding success. Let us show the world that Nigeria is ready to take its rightful place as a leader in global trade.

 

 

 

“Together, we will build a Nigeria that is stronger, more prosperous, and more united than ever before. The National Single Window is our gateway to that future, and I am honoured to lead us on this transformative journey,” the President concluded.

 

The Single Window solution interconnects all stakeholders involved in foreign trade and enables them to perform trade procedures on one platform. The Single Window provides a comprehensive online environment for all governmental and business users such as importers, exporters, declarants, commercial banks, carriers, Customs, ministries, and other government agencies to perform trade operations.

By simplifying and automating Customs and trade processes, traders and Government agents benefit from smoother processes that enable a reduction of clearance times.

The Unified Trade Window secures Government revenue and improves the overall country image in international trade indicators.

 

The Managing  Director NPA Mohammed Bello KoKo who was named by the President as part of the Implementation Committee had earlier led the NPA to enlist the technical guidance of the International  Maritime Organization (IMO)in preparedness for the seamless implementation of NSW with the Authority’s finalization of the consultancy for the Port Community System, which lays the groundwork for the National Single Window.

.As FG begins disbursement of N200bn palliative loans

 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment says it has begun disbursement of the Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme to verified applicants after an exhaustive selection process.

The government, through the Bank of Industry, had said it would be disbursing three categories of funding totalling N200bn to support manufacturers and businesses across the country.

In a progress report posted on the trade minister’s official X (formerly Twitter) handle on Tuesday, Doris Aniete stated that an unspecified number of beneficiaries have received their grants, adding that by Friday, April 19, another significant disbursement will be made to a substantial number of verified applicants.

She said, “We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. Some beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy.”

 

“By Friday, 19th April 2024, a significant disbursement will be made to a substantial number of verified applicants. It is essential to understand that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants on this initial date. However, rest assured that all verified applicants will eventually receive their grants in subsequent phases.”

 

This is coming more than eight months after President Bola Tinubu announced the grant for manufacturers and small businesses and two weeks after applicants were directed to submit their National Identification Numbers as part of the requirements to obtain the grant earmarked to cushion the effect that recent economic reforms have had on businesses in the country.

 

In the address, the president said he was determined to strengthen the manufacturing sector, increase its capacity to expand, and create good-paying jobs.

“We are going to spend N75bn between July 2023 and March 2024. Our objective is to fund 75 enterprises with great potential to kick-start sustainable economic growth, accelerate structural transformation, and improve productivity.

 

‘’Each of the 75 manufacturing enterprises will be able to access N1bn credit at 9 per cent per annum with a maximum of 60 months repayment for long-term loans and 12 months for working capital,” Tinubu said.

The programme, riddled with multiple delays and a complex registration process, had received several criticisms from prospective beneficiaries.

The President of the Association of Small Business Owners, Femi Egbesola, had decried the slow pace of data collation by the supervising agencies, alleging that genuine businesses were being deliberately discouraged from accessing the loans.

.First Lady flags off Renewed Hope initiative programme for S/West women

 

However, No fewer than 120 women from the six south west states are to get the sum of N60million from The Renewed Hope Initiative, a social intervention programme of the wife of the President, Mrs. Oluremi Tunubu.

 

Mrs. Tinubu, who disclosed this on Tuesday at the launch of the Renewed Hope Initiative Women Agricultural Support Programme for the south west and flag off of the 2024 Ogun State Planting Season, held at the Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, also said that N10million would be given to 100 persons with disability to capitalize their existing businesses.

 

She said: “Today, we are supporting 20 women farmers per state with the sum of N500,000 each. To this end, a draft of N10million per state for the South West zone will be handed over to the first ladies of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo states who are the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) state coordinators for onward disbursement to all beneficiaries in their respective states.

 

“The Renewed Hope Initiative Social Investment Programme will be empowering 100 persons with disability, small business owners in Ogun State with a sum of N100,000 each to recapitalise their existing businesses.”

 

Senator Tinubu also disclosed that the Renewed Hope Initiative would be collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to empower farmers, saying that 75% of the beneficiaries who will be young female farmers and 25% young male farmers would be specially identified, trained and empowered under the program.

 

The first lady, while adding that the pre-identified 80 women farmers in each state for agricultural support program would be carried along, urged women farmers to seize the opportunity to expand their agricultural ventures and contribute to local and national food production.

 

“In a short while, the Renewed Hope Initiative will be collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to empower potential farmers. In this phase, 75% of the beneficiaries will be young female farmers while 25% will be for young male farmers. They will all be specially identified, trained and empowered.

 

“I want to implore our women farmers receiving support today to seize this opportunity to expand their agricultural ventures, contribute to local and national food production and serve as role models for others aspiring to join the agricultural sector,” she added.

 

Earlier in his remarks, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun disclosed that his administration through the Oko’owo Dapo scheme has assisted over 50,000 women to grow their businesses with additional funding from the Federal Government’s Nigeria for Women Project.

 

Abiodun, who added that the total investment of the scheme now stands at about N1.5billion, said the Ogun Broiler Empowerment Scheme through which day old chicks were given to women and broilers taken from them every 90 days, have also empowered over 500 women agric entrepreneurs.

 

Governor Abiodun while noting that his administration has also launched Ibi-Dero, an initiative specifically targeted at pregnant indigent women for pre-natal delivery, post-natal and neo-natal care free of charge, maintained that his administration has succeeded in reducing Maternal and Child Mortality Rate in the state.

 

The State helmsman noted that his administration has prioritized the welfare and empowerment of women as a result of their population, adding that his government has also implemented programmes aimed at boost the status of women by including them in politics, governance and economic activities as well as providing education for girls.

 

Abiodun added that the Renewed Hope Initiative Women Agricultural Support Programme, holds a special resonance as it mirrors the resilience and tenacity of women in the state and the South West, saying that the spirit of women is integral to driving agricultural innovation and economic growth.

 

Governor Abiodun, while noting that Renewed Hope Initiative program symbolizes the determination of his administration to uplift women farmers, fortifying the agricultural framework and aligning with the sustainable development goals to ensure food security and sufficiency, added that investing in women extends beyond moral obligations.

 

In her welcome address, the first lady and the state coordinator of the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) in Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, noted that the Initiative is to celebrate and empower women in agriculture, commending the first lady for sponsoring students with interest in agriculture to Belarus for more studies.

 

She noted that supporting women in agriculture in the state would help to improve the agriculture value chain, adding that the discrimination against people with disabilities would soon become a thing of the past with the determination of Senator Oluremi Tinubu to make the required difference.

 

In her remarks, the South West Zonal Coordinator for the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) and wife of the Governor of Oyo State, Mrs.Tamunominini Olufunke Makinde noted that the support program would assist women in agriculture thereby improving the agriculture sector of the states, urging the beneficiaries to use the support  judiciously.

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