By Godfrey Bivbere
GROUP Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, has said that infrastructure deficiency at the Nigeria’s seaports would be a hindrance to the recent order by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to government agencies to commence 24 hours port operations.
The Sifax boss explained that though the Ease of Doing Business initiative by the government is a welcome development due to the needless bottlenecks encountered in the service delivery process, the problem of infrastructure deficiency should be urgently addressed to complement the executive order.
Afolabi, citing the case of the Apapa access roads that have literally broken down and has been a source of concern for all stakeholders, stated, “Fixing the roads would not only aid the initiative but also bring relief and order to one of the country’s economic gateways. The Ease of Doing Business executive order is good and brilliant initiative to improve the customer experience, particularly at the nation’s points of entry.
I want to commend the government for it. However, I want to submit that the initiative should be an all-encompassing one, where other hindering factors, especially critical infrastructure, are attended to without delay.
“Take for instance, the Apapa ports. There is no way a customer’s experience can be improved when the importers and exporters find it extremely difficult to transport their goods in and out of the ports because the roads are in a sorry state. Containers fall on these roads on a daily basis with attendant losses. Workers, residents and business owners in the area are not finding things easy as well.
“My appeal to the government is to do a thorough review of other inhibiting factors to doing business in Nigeria and immediately tackle such issues with the urgency with which the Abuja airport’s faulty runway was fixed. Only then we will truly improve the customer experience in the country.”