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EASE Of DOING BUSINESS: Nigeria must automate customs’ clearing process to make progress – Ajulo

The manual process fostered by some cabals impedes ease of doing business and in the process, the government loses a lot of money.

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Managing Partner, Colton Group, Mr Anthony Ajulo

The Managing Partner of Colton Group, Mr Anthony Ajulo has advocated the automation of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS’ clearing process in order to improve ease of doing business.

Colton Group of companies is a fast-growing conglomerate with interest in construction, manufacturing, industrial chemicals and ICT.

Mr Ajulo who spoke to BusinessDay in an interview ahead of his 40th birthday in Lagos said the current manual clearing process being utilised by the Customs breeds corruption and compounds the process of dealing business with the agency.

He said there must be deliberate efforts to eliminate face-to-face interaction with all revenue-generating agencies of government as this is a prerequisite to improving Nigeria’s ease of doing business.

“I hear that we have moved 15 places up to 131st from over 145th position.  To achieve further improvements, the government needs to do a few things. First, the government needs to automate the Customs clearing process. Importers can go online and get their containers cleared. This is already the practice in some West African markets,” he started.

Also, read Why businesses in the South-South, South-East are relocating to Lagos

Continuing, he said: “The manual process fostered by some cabals impedes ease of doing business and in the process, the government loses a lot of money. The government needs to reform the Nigerian Customs Service and other agencies. Corruption thrives when face-face interaction is ensured. Until this is cut off, corruption will continue and the ease of doing business will not be realised effectively.”

He added: “Secondly, the government should also checkmate multiple taxations by its agencies. Again, government agencies need to have a human face. In Nigeria, most government agencies don’t have a human face as it is done abroad where issues can be resolved quickly.”

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