|TRADE & TRANSPORT|
The price of food in Nigeria suffers greatly from high transportation costs. Limited rail service, poor road conditions, ’go-slow’ bottlenecks, and informal checkpoints all contribute to reducing the competitive trade of agricultural goods produced in Nigeria. The Port of Lagos experiences severe congestion which may cause ships to be docked for up to 20 days, and containers to be delayed for as long as 35 days. The most important transportation route in Nigeria, the Lagos-Niger corridor (LNC) is a 1,149km road that sees a large amount of traffic: between 5,000 and 17,000 vehicles per day, 10-14% of which are heavy vehicles. The neglected railway is no longer useful to ship goods within or between countries.
As part of USAID’s Global Food Security Program, MARKETS’ Trade and Transport team partners with the Government of Nigeria and the private sector to improve the efficiency of major regional trade corridors and speed up the flow of cross-border trade. To achieve this, we target three key areas: transport corridor optimization, customs modernization, and trade policy.
Our transport component focuses on increasing efficiency along the critical Lagos-Kano-Niger transport corridor. We focus on the design of transport corridor reform options, stakeholder mobilization, and advocacy to implement suggested reforms.
We use FastPath, a computerized toolbox and process that assesses transport performance along the Lagos-Kano-Jibiya corridor route. The analysis quantifies cost, time and reliability factors along associated road, rail and waterway transport routes. We develop different intervention options, and then select the best option to improve corridor efficiency in the most cost-effective way.
Making customs modern, transparent and predictable using international standards is a priority for the USAID program and the Government of Nigeria. Our intervention coincides with the establishment of the Presidential Task Force on Customs Reform. With reform momentum building, and in view of the close tie between customs modernization and improving supply chain efficiency, there is an opportunity to make significant progress.
Based on our holistic approach to promoting market-based principles in agriculture, our project recognizes Nigeria’s need to build capacity in trade policy, and to support continual trade harmonization and policy reform. We help strengthen institutional capacity of private sector associations and public sector ministries such as the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry (FMCI). We also work with government laboratories to establish internationally accredited testing capabilities in Nigeria, which in turn raises product standards and makes it easier to export commodities to markets within the region and to developed countries.