From: Samuel Orumade, Abuja
THE Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) says the export of agricultural commodities will soon commence, following suspension of the movement restriction.
Dr Vincent Isegbe, the NAQS Director-General, disclosed this on Friday stressing that the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Federal Road Safety Commission, Vehicle Inspection Office, the Nigerian Police, other security agencies and stakeholders are currently under obligation to work in partnership with the service to fulfil the objective.
He said the Federal Government had authorised the NAQS to fully resume its export certification duties at all ports imminent of agric exports.
Isegbe emphasised that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) had also issued a directive instructing MDAs and state governments to cooperate with the agency to enable restoration of agriculture export traffic.
“This collaboration is to reanimate agricultural export,” the DG stated in the statement issued by Dr Gozie Nwodo, NAQS Head, Media, Communications and Strategies, in Abuja.
“Producer and transit state governments are expected to grant the right to free passage to the consignments along corridors that have been mapped by NAQS under a best logistics-support arrangement.”
The DG observed how the COVID-19 lockdown announced by the President as part of strategy to contain the spread had suspended growth of the agricultural value chain.
“This brought almost all the states under one form of curfew or the other, and the ban on interstate transportation, institutional and logistical barricades blocking human and vehicular movement everywhere.
“The situation made the passage of agricultural commodities from the remote production spots to the ports which are mostly located in the urban areas difficult.” He said.
However, he assured that the agency has gotten permission of the federal government to resume operation.
He said NAQS would creatively adapt to the current challenges and would balance professional protocols and adherence to all COVID-19 safety precautions in the inspection and certification of agricultural products
“Given the drop in crude prices, job losses and the slump in global economy, it is critical for Nigerian agricultural export to stand to its full height as one of the twin pillars of the Nigerian economy,” Isegbe added.