Is government policy on ease of doing business at the port working?

Fred Akokhia
Fred Akokhia

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.

 

Zebulon-Ikokide
Zebulon Ikokide

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.

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Kevin Okonna
Kevin Okonna

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.

 

 

Austin Nwosu
Austin Nwosu
Initially this policy encouraged every security agency to comply with port processes. After a while things returned to status quo where everybody is given an instruction without adequate mechanism of enforcement.

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).

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When the CGC disbanded CG Taskforce and replaced it with Headquarters Compliance Team we thought it is going to be different because we were told they will operate on information. Now they are present at the Port gates, Border roads and even in the town. Immediately you leave the port or borders you will contend with the Headquarters Compliance Team and Federal Operation Units (FOU) performing the same tasks.
Police check points along Seme – Lagos road are uncountable, what they are checking is not known by any body. In addition our roads are not friendly for business. It will take vehicles longer time to reach their destination and some might fall and spill its contents on the road.
With all these the ease of doing business is defeated. We are back to the original, business environment which is hostile.
For this policy to work, we must be transparent and honest in our business transactions: right classification and declaration of goods. In addition our roads are not friendly for business.