Osita Patrick Chukwu (Freight Forwarder)
To an extent, I would say that it is working, there is a sense of responsibility now unlike before, if you place it on the ‘executive order,, you will know what I am saying, if you go to Apapa now, many things have changed, the security network; both the NPA and the Police working together. The only problem is just that the NICIS 2 that Customs brought in now, the cost is too high and Customs do not want to disclose the contract terms and cost for establishing NICIS 2. Also, there is no need of NAFDAC being in the port, they cannot test any drugs without laboratory, they should operate from outside the port, they know where the warehouses are, and they are the ones that registered them, why are they now coming into the port? They are the ones creating the unease of doing business and creating bottlenecks.
Adewale Adetayo (General Manager, Sifax Haulage)
My take on the ease of doing business is that we should give the government some time, they are really trying but there are huge challenges that they met on ground. I am not an advocate of any party, but I see that there is now a direction. The ease of doing business is not about the government alone, they should go into the banks, if I tell you how much it costs us to get money from the banks, it will amaze you, there are young people who want to go into business, but the interest on loan is killing, so the ease of doing business is not just about the government, although the government would create an enabling environment, the individuals should also contribute their part.
Patrick Okonji (Licensed Customs Agent)
The ease of doing business especially as it concerns 24 hours port operations is not working, all the policies that the government has introduced, none of them is working, doing business at the port now is a major problem, if you want to rent a truck last year, you can get 20footer for N55, 000 and 40footer for N75, 000 or N80, 000, but today, the reverse is the case, transporters now charge you anything they like, they can ask you to bring N200,000, they charge as they like.
Dele Iboma (ANLCA, Tin Can Chapter)
The ease of doing business is working, that is if you take away the Nigerian factor of creating unnecessary bottlenecks, otherwise the government meant well, if we are to follow the directive of the government to the letter, I am sure that it would reduce cost and time. On the agencies that were recently asked out of the port, the directive was given to NPA who is the landlord to evacuate the agencies and give some of them who have been approved an accommodation, we are waiting on NPA to see that the order is carried out. On 24 hours port operations, you might not do examination at night, but you can take delivery, so I can say that in effect, the 24 hours port operations is working.
Segun Musa (NAGAFF)
It is not working for now and many factors are contributing to that, inconsistency in government policy, the customs are not helping matters, the ports are no longer business-friendly and people are closing shops. If I may start with government policy, the policy has never been a consistent one and it does not allow any importer to project into what they want to do. And that is why a lot of companies are closing up. It may interest you to know that a few days ago; we heard that the government has called NAFDAC to the ports after asking them to leave. Why was that decision taken without taking precaution, the rest of the world are laughing at us, as if the country is not a serious country. It is so shameful and I know any moment from now, SON will be called back and all other agencies that the government had asked to move out of the ports will be called back.
Mr. Paul Ndibe (CILT)
Well, you know it is a new policy and one thing with Nigeria is that we rise to issues just to give temporary solutions to them. If it was a well thought out policy, the ground work for maintaining the policy would have been made, but such ground works were not made. Initially we thought we have a problem with ease of doing business and we felt that the nest thing to do is to institute procedures for ease of doing business, but it has not helped. So, my thinking is that the government should take its time while they are giving their voices to ease of doing business, go down to the rudiments of providing the facilities to enable the ease of doing business. If the ports will not be open for 24 hours, of course you will not be thinking of ease of doing business, if the customs will not work comfortably beyond 6pm, you will not be talking of ease of doing business, if you are not sure of 24 hours electricity supply, you will not be talking of ease of doing business.
Mr. Stanley Ezenga (Publicity Secretary, NAGAFF)
It is working, even though some of the agencies of the government are frustrating it. I say that because when goods that were examined by proper customs officer and exit it, when the goods get to the gate, they would be subjected to another round of scrutiny. Even at that, when the goods finally exit the ports, the Police will be on the road to disturb the goods likewise SON and FOU, this makes nonsense of the ease of doing business which perhaps people at the ports under trade facilitation may overlook one or two things. People on the roads now will make it cumbersome. So if we remove all those bottlenecks on the roads, I think the ease of doing business is working.