Patrick Ocheme Micheal, GMD Jokapat Advanced Logistics And Trade Operations Centre Limited.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Maritime sector is a crucial one as it is touted as one of the most important sectors of the Nigerian economy. The turbulence within the sector has created as much headaches as it has seen the rise of tenacious investors persistently growing their businesses. It is in this light that the www.greataltetnativenetwork.com.ng sought the opinion of the Group Managing Director of Jokapat Advanced Logistics And Trade Operations Centre Limited, Mr. Patrick Ocheme Micheal. Mr. Micheal who has over a decade long experience in the freight forwarding and logistics business says he had had a very challenging, but wonderful experience, but that the lack of unity and cohesion among the various freight forwarding bodies has created more problems than they should have solved.
Mr. Micheal opined that the leadership of a country is a function of the people of that country and not of people from the moon, in his words “Once you hold a public office, your family expects ‘something’ from you, your clan expects ‘something’ from you, your local government expects ‘something’ from you, your friends, your allies and so on and so forth, all these make your situation rather untenable. In order to meet these expectations, you start putting your hands into so many things and these are the major issues, that I can tell you that drag us backwards. I want to use another case in point where for instance, once you are appointed as the minister of transportation here for the sector, there are a lot of personal expectations from friends and family”. He added that these societal pressures make one very biased and then a conflict of interest results from these pressures. Mr Micheal also said that certain government policies may be alright, but that in most cases the drivers of these policies become the problem. He added though that sometimes policies that are not business friendly also make the businesses in the sector more difficult than they should ordinarily be and these should be reassessed and replaced with business friendly policies in order to help businesses and create employment.
He said that the beaurocracy put in place by politicians should be dismantled and the ports should be run professionally by technocrats in order to run more efficiently. He asked rather rethorically, ” How do you allow a man who has never owned a trailer lorry before to become the head of a presidential task force on traffic to clear the road, does he have the requisite knowledge of haulage and logistics, what would be his input in the whole gamut of transportation? You will agree with me that the person will never be fair”. He added that conflict of interest as a result of using the wrong people to do the right job should be jettisoned.
“Another good example is the case of awarding contracts on federal roads to political loyalists, that should not be happening. May be the country will be better if we adopt a better power sharing formula, for example, if an APC candidate wins the chairmanship of a local government, a PDP candidate who came second should be the vice chairman of the LG and so on and so forth, this will to my thinking engender a sense of inclusiveness”. What we are seeing everywhere is political reward in terms of appointments and placement of people in various positions of policy and power.
He lamented that the transport subsector is undergoing serious strains occasioned by multifaceted issues which are largely caused by human error and mostly greed and there seems to be continuous loss of income on the part of investors in the sector.
Mr. Michael said that the export sector is no longer given the kind of encouragement that it was hitherto enjoying and that the lack of proper coordination among agencies and delays caused by the various human interface sometimes cause export goods to loose value or sometimes perish while in transit thereby causing losses along the supply chain.
He chided governments at the local, state and federal levels for not doing enough especially in the haulage, logistics and barge operations as he said that this has created a lot if problems for investors. He opined that if governments invest in garages, parking space infrastructures and holding bays that are connected to road and rail, these will creat a lot of jobs and ease the traffic troubles around the ports.
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