APC chieftain calls for port reforms to facilitate international trade

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Lagos, June 9, 2023 – Mr Bola Babarinde, a former Chairman of the South African Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), has advised President Bola Tinubu to reform the nation’s ports to enhance ease of doing business and aid economic growth.

Babarinde, in a statement in Lagos on Friday, described ease of doing business as a potent catalyst for trade facilitation and economic growth.

“It is important to address a small, but important area that can help the new administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take off with great speed and leap frog in economic development.

“It is about the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria with ports reforms declared as a state of emergency.

“The frustration that the business community go through in the hands of our port officials is terrible and condemnable which can be classified as economic sabotage by the individuals charged and trusted to man these departments and entry points into our economy.

“Yes, it’s true that government policies empower this corruption to flourish because officials take advantage of the system and loopholes in such policies.

“It is the reason why it is time to move away from the analogue system and unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks at our ports to a modern automated, efficient and profitable system,” he said.

Babarinde lamented that there were about 20 documents that are required to complete the process of clearing of goods in Nigeria’s ports.

He said that each stage of approval at the ports was unnecessary and had continued to perpetuate its own problems of extortion and delays.

The APC chieftain said the unwholesome documentation process had had negative consequences on trade and commerce in Nigeria.

“Why can’t Nigeria borrow a leaf from a country close to us, Ghana, which has streamlined its process with experience of clearing goods with just two documents (Proforma invoice and Bill of Lading).

“The unnecessary hardships and hurdles posed to businesses at the ports should be addressed urgently and immediately to recalibrate the economy.

“Digitalisation of the ports for clearing and shipment of goods will engender ease of doing business, improve trade and commerce, increase productivity and boost revenue for Nigeria.

“It will also eradicate the few unscrupulous individuals that are benefitting from the poor management of our ports to the detriment of the economic development of Nigeria,” he said.

Babarinde said Nigerians in the Diaspora, with their varied experiences abroad, were willing to come home to contribute their quota through technical expertise and advice for the success of the Tinubu’s administration.

He said the military incursion into politics in the first republic disrupted the nation’s journey to socioeconomic advancement and development.

Babarinde also said the military imported and foisted the American type of democracy on Nigeria, which is expensive and sophisticated to run with attendant challenges.

“Now, after years of our so-called democracy, we now enjoy some freedoms as promised, but without equity and justice,” he said. (GBN)

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