Bad Roads Bane of Ease of Doing Business
By Samuel Victor Akpan
The World Bank has revealed that Nigeria is now the 131st country in the world when it comes to the rankings for Ease of Doing Business as done by the financial institution. The country is also amongst the top 10 economies improving in three or more areas.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria moved up 16 places from 146th to 131st in the ranking for 2018/2019.
Despite the feat achieved, Obi Chima, a freight forwarder, says bad roads in the country is the bane of Federal Government's policy on ease of doing business.
Chima said this while speaking at the first CEO Business Luncheon organized by the Rivers and Bayelsa Branch of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Using Rivers state as a case study, Chima said truck drivers now spend over three hours on the 19-kilometer federal road linking Onne Port to Port Harcourt, as against 15minutes drive when the road was in good shape.
He also noted that at least four incidents of fallen trucks are recorded on the road every week.
“This ease of doing business of a thing it seems a critical point of it is escaping the minds of those that did that policy”, said Chima.”
“There’s no road to the ports, be it Calabar, Warri, Onne or even Apapa. From Port Harcourt to Onne is about 19km, it’s a journey of 15mins, but today as I’m speaking 3hours or 4hours is on a good time.”
“Every week we record about 4 to 5 fallen containers on that road, and that axis is the axis that gives the federal government money, the refinery, the Navy School, Police College, oil and gas, the petrochemical, everything in that side.”
Describing the port at the moment, as a Garrison without a Commander, the freight forwarder also advised the Federal Government to set up a structure to facilitate effective coordination of activities within the Onne Port.
“One problem we have in the port is the only Garrison that have no commander. The Customs are on their own, SON on their own, NAFDAC on their own, NDLEA on their own, Police on their own, you are on your own. Only God can save you in the Nigerian Ports if you are doing business”, lamented Chima.
Adawari Pepple, Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Rivers and Bayelsa Branch, while addressing newsmen said the luncheon also provided the opportunity to interface with the Customs on how to have smooth operations at the Onne Port.
Pepple equally emphasized the need to whittle the perception that Rivers State is not safe for business.
“We’ve been able to tell the Customs where and where we need improvements on their own side and they’ve also told us what and what to do to ensure smooth operations in the eastern ports.”
“There is this touted impression that the whole east is insecure but we know that that is not true. After all the so called insecurity by the IMO is on the whole of the Gulf of Guinea. Gulf of Guinea includes Lagos, Coutonou, it includes Duala and so why is PH so special about it? Why is Onne so special about insecurity?” inquired the MAN Chairman.
Additional reports by Joshua Rogers.