It is working but there are still so many challenges. The infrastructures are not in place. You talk of ease of doing business and you cannot even get access to the port. The port access roads are bad and also the port scanners. The good thing is that the federal government has tried to streamline the agencies at the port so that many agencies are not cluttering port operations. The government is making effort to put things in place so that the policy can work seamlessly but as it is now, there are hindrances against the whole idea of ease of doing business. The policy can only work better if these aforementioned things are put in place. I believe is a gradual process and if the government can work hard at achieving this, everything will fall in place.
The ease of doing business at the port is not working because the access roads to the ports have collapsed. You cannot go directly to the port easily and coming out of the port is just as tasking with the road still under construction. The scanners at the port also calls for urgent attention. The scanners are actually the responsibility of the government because they are the ones inspecting the cargo and not the individual. It is high time government comes to the aid of customs by buying well equipped scanners for use at the port. Customs should be able to maintain it because getting scanners is not enough. If scanners are not put in place, ease of doing business cannot be effective the way the government wants it.
The non-functioning scanners at the port contributes to manual, laborious and costly cargo inspection. Scanners are essential tools to aid trading across borders and reduce the illicit cross-border movement of unwholesome goods, which is prevalent today in our ports and border stations. The absence of holding bay and trailer parks based on the lease and concession agreement to transporters is also a factor that is hampering the ease of doing business. Holding bay and trailer park facilities are a core component of trading across borders. Also, the port access roads should be fixed for this policy to be effective.
Go to our various ports and border stations today, the multiple checks by security agencies have increased even beyond the expected number. I will be more specific; at the border stations, we were told that Gbaji and Agbara are the only approved check points by Customs, with information patrol teams. Those information patrol teams are now check points. From Seme border to Lagos we have over twelve (12) Customs stop points as against the approved two (2). From Idiroko Border to Sango we have over twenty (20).