The Organized Private Sector(OPS), comprising the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), National Association of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (NASME) and National Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI); commends the Federal Government for efforts aimed at improving the Ease of Doing Business. This is evidenced by the setting up the Presidential Enabling Business Council (PEBEC); the crafting of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the signing of three Executive Orders (EOs) in this regard. We note that there have been meager improvements in the EODB in Nigeria and implore Government to continue in that stride until the cost of doing business in Nigeria is reduced to the barest minimum.
The State of Access Roads to Lagos Ports-Our Concern
Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General MAN said the OPS is concerned about the current dilapidated state of access roads to the nation’s ports in Lagos State and the resultant traffic gridlock. This challenge is having debilitating implications on trade facilitation, cost of cargo transportation and overhead cost of businesses in Nigeria. In fact the traffic jam on these roads currently hampers access to the sea ports, paralysing economic activities, engendering loss of man hour, enormous wastage of fuel, huge increase in cargo dwell time, causing preventable accidents and heightened security risk.
Ajai-Kadir pointed out that other Compelling Implications Most worrisome is that fact that this challenge is also leading to heavy revenue loss to Government, overly too long turnaround time for delivery of cargoes, huge transportation cost, avoidable raw materials stock-out, inability of companies to meet set production targets to mention but a few. This by all standards is not business friendly. As it is now trucks hired to carry cargoes belonging to our members cannot have easy access to the port to lift or deliver cargoes and those lifting cargoes cannot come out of the port because of the long hours of traffic. Imagine a situation where it is taking between five and eight weeks for our members to take delivery of their cargoes of vital raw materials. These same port users now pay between N350,000 and N400,000 as cargo transport cost as against the standard rate N100,000 per cargo.
The DG said our Position In view of all of the above, the OPS hereby affirm that this is not good for business, hinders profitability, would erode the reasonable progress that Government has made so far in improving the business operating environment and may further worsen the rating of the country of the trade facilitation benchmark of ease of doing business if not addressed urgently. The OPS sees no reason why our ports being the gateway to international trade and flow of cargoes cannot have world class infrastructure, access roads and facilities in line with best practices evidenced by status of ports in China, Dubai, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore to mention a few. It is noteworthy to mention that a special consultative forum on this challenge has been convened and will hold today. The outcome of this forum would form the core of our advocacy engagement with the Federal Government.
He noted that without pre-empting the outcome of the forum, the OPS is hereby using this platform to: Call on the Federal Government to speed up actions that will proffer permanently solutions to this challenge. Set up a taskforce made up of representatives of all stakeholders to strategize on ways and means of resolving this challenge. Create alternative routes since the Wharf road is been upgraded and put measures in place that will immediately free the road and ease the current pressure on all the stakeholders operating on the maritime value chain.