With the growth of the e-commerce industry and the increasing ease of conducting business electronically globally, it isn’t surprising that more businesses are choosing to trade across borders to take advantage of the revenue-generating potential that export and import of goods offers.
While there are numerous exciting business opportunities – as international markets continue to express interest in local African products / services and vice versa – international trade remains a complex process, which if not managed correctly, can create unfavourable situations for businesses and their partners, particularly small to medium enterprises trying to take advantage of the global market.
This is according to Oliver Facey, vice-president, Operations at DHL Express Sub–Saharan Africa, who said that it is important for businesses to be aware of the diverse trade regulations, and implications of these, when moving shipments across the various borders in Africa and abroad.
Facey pointed to the latest World Bank Doing Business 2013 report which revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa boasts the largest improvement in the rankings from last year, as business regulatory practices in various countries converge and they narrow the gap with their European counterparts.
However, the region is still the worst-performing, highlighting the challenges that local businesses face in terms of understanding document requirements and customs procedures.
As a result, businesses need to have an understanding of customs requirements applicable to their product’s origin and destination, in order to minimise any delay and extra costs at border clearance which could adversely affect their profits and expected transportation service levels.
Facey offered a few pointers to local businesses to assist with a smooth shipment process.
“First and foremost, customs usually require the importer or exporter to register as an importer/exporter before transacting internationally. Following this, businesses need to ensure they have the correct paperwork.”
“Typical documents that are required includes certificates stating the proof of the products origin as some goods could attract preferred rates of duty depending on their country of origin. There are also goods that require inspection and release by other government agencies, such as The Health Department, so it is imperative to enquire whether the goods being shipped from specific countries require additional permits.”
Invoices also need to be provided and these need to be in a specific format and include the purpose for the product (commercial or non-commercial) and the proof of their values.
“Customs reserves the right to stop, detain and physically inspect any shipment entering or exiting the country. During this phase, they subject the clearance of the product to various checks, such as valuation, to determine whether the value paid to the supplier is infact the value declared for Customs purposes. There are legal, financial and service implications if these details do not correspond,” said Facey.
Commodities are coded by means of a tariff number and as a result, a Harmonised Tariff code will be assigned to the product, which is a code that determines the rate of duty payable on that specific commodity.
“Another aspect to consider is whether there are any special requirements for the specific country the product is being shipped to, such as temporary imports / exports and restrictions”, said Facey.
“There are prohibited and restricted goods that can only be shipped in and out of the country under a permit or license, such as plant products which require a phytosanitary certificate or medicine and scheduled substances which usually need a medical control council certificate.”
Facey said that to further guarantee a smooth shipment process, for both the business and customer, it is vital for companies to ensure traceability and transparency in the transportation process.
“Not only will this help keep the customer informed, but it will also assist the company prevent delays should there by a stoppage in the process. With the knowledge of a particular stoppage, a business can then help resolve the issue quickly and efficiently, as in some instances, the delay is likely solved by supplying extra data or forms.”
The speed of delivery needed for the shipment also needs to be considered when assessing the company’s transportation needs.
“Businesses must match the transport need to the needs of the customer, which can be categorized into the size, urgency, cost, speed and complexity of the shipment,” said Facey.
Due to the complexities of the procedures and processes, it is advisable to seek assistance from appropriate service providers that can support and advise according to a business’ individual needs.
“This enables good local knowledge and the assistance with the clearance process and procedures. They will also ensure that all requirements are met and understood before shipping, as well as manage expectations and navigate customers through some time very difficult procedures.”
“By fully understanding the processes and terminology involved with entering the different markets, African businesses can build a long-term foundation for even more successful international trade,” concluded Facey.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
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