By Ajibola Abayomi,
March 9, 2018.
Stakeholders in the maritime of the nation’s economy and government have been charged to expedite action on the rehabilitation of the port access roads.
The call was made by a custom licensed agent, Nwokolobia Ifeanyi, who equally appealed to the Federal Government to step up infracture at the ports if the dream of Ease of Doing Business Order would be realized.
Nwokolobia who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of Ojeweta 360 Nigeria Limited, an import and export, clearing and forwarding, shipping and general merchandise outfit noted that the dilapidated state of the roads were affecting smooth operation of businesses at the port.
“The bad access roads to the ports contribute to the woes and sufferings of the stakeholders in the industry. It is affecting movement of cargoes from and to the ports.
“Last year was very tough, and since the beginning of this year, it has been so. Every working day, I don’t leave the office till around 11p.m. I get home 1a.m. every day from Monday to Friday due to the bad roads and heavy traffic associated with it.
“Most time, we use commercial motorcycles to access the roads. I leant the Federal Government has apologised and promised to rehabilitate the roads. They should urgently do something concerning the Oshodi-Apapa Express road, particularly from Mile 2, through Tincan Island Ports to Apapa Wharf.
“We don’t have any other option than to appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on the road rehabilitation to enhance Ease of Doing Business. It is affecting everybody, the importers, the agents, even lives of the road users are on the line” he said.
He commended the feat of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in meeting up its revenue target last year praising Comptroller Modupeola Adeyanju Aremu of the Port and Terminal Multipurpose Services Limited(PTML) command for meeting up a N10 billion monthly revenue target, being the first of its kind in the command.
Nwokolobia said the sector was caught in the web of recession and the country trying to exit from it.
“But we thank God for seeing us through the hash economic climate. I am one of the investors in the industry. I am a member of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent(ANLCA) but not on executive capacity.
“Things were very hard last year in the industry due to tough economic situation in the country. It equally affected the maritime sector, but we are trying our best.
“ The Nigeria Customs Service in Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa port and PTML were able to meet their targets in revenue generation. So last year was not so bad with some agencies and operators in the sector even though the state of the nation’s economy was very bad and affected to a large extent the gains that supposed to accrue to the sector.”
“Up till today, I cannot tell you that all is well in the freight sector, because we lost so much and we are still losing so much due to the dilapidated infrastructure in the maritime sector.
“Like I said at different fora, any nation that fails to develop its infrastructure will fail. That is exactly what we are going through. Importation generally was being affected because of the poor infrastructure which is nothing to write home about.”