A call has gone to the Federal Government to suspend the Ease of Doing Business forthwith until all the impediments militating against 24 hours cargo clearance are solved by the government.
The call was made by Dr. Kayode Farinto acting President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) in Lagos while addressing the media.
He said that the bad state of port access roads, non existence of multimodal transport, multiple checking points by the Nigeria Customs Service, extortion by the Maritime Police and other government agencies not complying with Executive order have messed up the motive behind the policy.
Farinto noted that all the problems would not allow the Ease of Doing Business to work until and unless the government to declare a state of emergency in the sector and fix the problems urgently.
According to Farinto, “failure of the Customs to conform with the implementation of Ease of Doing Business, double examination on containers, extortion of ANCLA members, Customs release and arrest and re-arrest of containers and above all, activities of FOU to query consignment base on low cargo and low value are impediments to the policy.
“The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Hameed Ali is not bigger than Nigeria; he cannot continue to flout the Executive Order. The Inspector General of Police should come to the port and see how the Marine Policy abandoned their statutory functions and turned themselves to Customs and now obtaining manifest from shipping companies and stopping containers and calling agents for settlement of one hundred and fifty thousand per containers.”
Dr. Farinto who is also the Managing Director of Wealthy Honey Investment Nigeria Limited noted that would be very difficult for Nigeria as a country to get it right with the inconsistency in government policy and implementation as shipping companies and terminal operators have refused to implement the Ease of Doing Business Order.
“We hereby call for state of Emergency or suspension of the Ease of Doing Business in the maritime sector because it is not working. Ministries, Directorates and Agencies (MDA’s) behave to be bigger than the Federal Government, they are working for and also flouting orders given by Nigerian Ports Authority with impunity and no sanctions meted to them. Are they now bigger than the country?’’ he asked rhetorically.