The recent flag of Executive Order (EO) on ease of doing business at the ports by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is under threats since the beginning of this month following the partial closure of Wharf road for reconstruction, Business Hilights can authoritatively report.
The managing director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman had shortly after the issuance of the Order by acting president swung into action and even carried out a rare midnight tour to inspect the 24 hours operations at the ports.
But the recent daily traffic lock jam caused by the partial closure of the road is hobbling the actualization of the target of 24 hours operations both in Apapa and Tincan Island ports.
According to a top clearing agent who pleaded anonymity, he argued that “The government would not have introduced the Executive order in the first instance to the ports because for years, issues of bad port access roads had been there”.
“In fact, stakeholders had gone on strike and threatened to withdraw services should the state of the roads remain unchanged.
“Now, why should a reasonable government, knowing full well that the port access roads are in total state of disrepair, still went ahead to begin 24 hours operations. How can you evacuate cleared goods when you know that there are no roads?
“I think some of the government agencies are truly driven by sycophancy, especially on issues that hardly affect them like us that are the real filed operators.
“Like I said, “the Executive Order on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria ports cannot have any meaningful impact, with the road’s partial closure for the next one year”.
“The Federal Government should have constituted a Presidential Task Force on the rehabilitation of the port access roads before the executive order.
He recalled that this was not even the first time we the port stakeholders are hearing or such so called executive order.
“Let me take your mind back, former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, had previously gave an order that cargoes must be cleared in Nigerian ports in 24 hours, but up till today, the order was disregarded due to connivance of all government agencies at the ports who frustrate importers efforts so that demurrage would be on the rise every day.
“To me and most of us here that fear to talk on this matter, government and NPA plus Shippers’ Council should stop deceiving themselves and draining our money with terminal operators in the name of Executive order until the Wharf road is done and delivered,” the vocal agent averred in anger.