Vice President Yemi Oshibajo has accused the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Police Force of derailing the federal government’s executive order on ease of doing business at the ports.
Speaking at the weekend at the second annual lecture under the theme: “The Gains and Challenges of the Presidential Order on Ease of Doing Business in the Nigerian Maritime Sector One Year After” organised by primetime reporters in Lagos, vice president Osinbajo said the Police and Customs have become stumbling blocks to the order.
The vice president, who was represented by an official in the Presidential Environmental Business Enabling Council (PEBEC), Mr. John Oboh, agreed that there were challenges in carrying out the Presidential Order on Ease of Doing Business, identifying some customs operatives and the Police as not helping matters.
He criticised the Customs for incessant interception of goods cleared at the ports, saying it is against international best practices. According to him, there is no reason why operatives of the Customs should be stopping containers on the way, particularly within few meters after the port gate for another round of checks.
Oboh said he is a field person who monitors what goes on within the business environment alleged that some officers of the service collect N20,000 per truck after they had been cleared at the port. Also, speaking on joint physical examination of goods at the ports, he pointed out that the problem has been with information that some customs officers do not come to the office in time.
For instance, he said that while examination is supposed to be around 12noon, the exercise does not start till 1 and 2pm. He also said there is no reason why the Police as part of the eight agencies at the ports should be stopping containers for examination. Oboh said his office had intervened in some cases of molestation of importers who had cleared their goods at the ports by the Police.
Meanwhile, he identified the 24 hour service at the ports in which importers can pay customs duties, joint physical examination of goods at the ports as the gains of the order. He also said that PEBEC had intervened in some cases to fasten the pace of work on the road rehabilitation as well as redesign the pallestisation policy following inputs from stakeholders.
According to him, the closure of Ijora Bridge is coming at a better time considering the ongoing road reconstruction. He pointed out that the reduction of 14 agencies in the ports to eight was also part of the gains of introducing Ease of Doing Business. Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on the occasion said it has not failed to ensure that the Ease of Doing Business at the ports were achieved.
A representative of the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Adora Nwonu said the ports economic regulator has always been active in enforcing the order where it has to do with shipping services delivery between consumers and providers of shipping services.
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