Prince Olayiwola Shittu (President, ANLCA) It has been an uphill task for business transactions in our ports to even meet 10% of the international best practices, and the basis for all the distortion is corruption, it starts from the importer who is non-compliant and does not want to pay correct duty, security agencies and government agencies at the port who are not supposed to allow such infraction to happen, but who also take advantage to enrich themselves, the license customs agents and freight forwarders who also see the interplay of forces and help themselves to the till.Now that there is a presidential order that says we should pause because the way we are going is not right, we must give that order a chance; we must work towards it so that we would have the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Joseph Atoloye (Managing Director, Waltoye Nigeria Limited)The Executive order would not work at the port because the operators will not allow it to work, they would always look for a loophole in the system and they would take advantage of this, but if all stakeholders really want the executive order to work, the banks, customs, SON, NAFDAC and other agencies must intentionally decide to make the order implementable.Now that the executive order has said port must operate 24hours, NPA have started restricting people from accessing the port, I think government should have given a period of time, a notification in the newspapers before commencing the implementation.
Seni Edu (General Manager, Eko Support Services Limited)I think it is achievable, but it is going to take the reorganisation of certain agencies in the way they are set up and their shift hours to be able to work at night. But we are ambitious, some of the ultimatum of 30 days and 60 days for implementation is ambitious, also, the executive order is not achievable if the roads are not fixed. The roads make everything slower, and if you are talking about ease of doing business, importers can decide to take their goods to neighbouring ports. But once the agencies are united, and the challenges are fixed, the executive order can be implemented.
Rev. Jonathan Nicole (President, Shippers Association Lagos State) Shippers Association Lagos State salutes the Federal Government on the Presidential Order issued to reduce the problems of clearing cargo within 24 hours. This also affects the number of agencies in the port. It shows that the Government is very concerned about doing business with ease and cost. We commend the Nigerian Ports Authority for their prompt action in enforcing the Executive Order. The target is for cargo clearance within 24 hours and we believe that the executive order is achievable if all hands are on deck.
Captain Joseph Awodeha (President, Master Mariners)My understanding is that executive order is meant to supersede every other orders to make ease of doing business in the port work. Now you take president order over existing orders if there is a clear issue were we overlook a particular issue, that is vital for me the clear thing to do is to go back to the executive and say, when we gave this executive orders we didn’t consider this and it is vital to curb human or drug trafficking. Executive orders can be revisited if it is conscious that it is not working. For example if there is an executive order that says Customs should not work in the ports of course you know it is not possible. So you can go back to whoever issued the order and tell him that when you told us to carry out this executive order, we didn’t consider this, this agency is vital you can always revisit it.I do not see the reason this executive order should not work out if all the agencies make themselves available as at when required. It is working in some other countries so why can’t it work here. 24 hours operation in the ports is visible.
Uche Increase (President NAGAFF)Yes, the executive order on the ease of doing business in the ports is achievable; it is a chain that we all must key into. The only thing that we need is competent hands, people that can handle the game. We have people there already who have started working on that it, is just a little adjustment and we are good to go. Every change is for good, we need a port that is efficient and effective and also a port that is good.
Matthew Alalade (President Merchant Navy) Well, I don’t know if that executive order will work. I doubt how 24 hours ports operation will work in a place where there are no access roads. All the ports’ link roads are bad. I don’t know how they want to do it.
Augustine Ahamefule (Agent) It is very possible because some ports here in Apapa works and the ones at 2nd gate work 24 hours too. But Grimaldi, some bonded terminals and Ports & Cargo do not work for 24 hours. That will make work at the ports easier; it will also help in decongesting the ports. But as said, the major thing is road. You do not expect people in the business to be putting their vehicles at risk in this type of road. The major road that leads to ports is very bad. They encounter a lot of risks plying the road during the day, let alone at night. The policy is good but they must have to do the right thing which is dealing with the roads.