Chief Osita Chukwu, CEO, Save Nigeria.
Story by Dili Utomi.
A nation that is desirous of prospering economically in modern realities usually picks its best workforce, uses the best tools and carries out its policies assiduously with sagacious tenacity and in deliberately focused manner in order that all the objectives are realised. It is with the belief in this paradigm that we set out to find out from experts and stakeholders alike, why rather than having Nigeria as an investment destination, people are moving out with their monies and are rather looking at other countries near us and only making this country a dumping ground for finished goods.
We spoke with Chief Osita Chukwu, a man with decades of experience in business in the Maritime sector as he bares his mind on issues regarding the reduction in the amount of cargoes received through the various Nigerian Ports .
Mr Chukwu started by saying that the first factor that is affecting the amount of cargo received in the country is that of Government policies the tariffs charged should be the same on the same products irrespective of the Port of discharge and clearing area. Rates should not be arbitrarily jacked up every time, he says. He says that the stringent nature of our policy create the major push back to businesses thereby driving investors away. He added that corruption is another factor that militiates against businesses as officials sometimes demand for gratification before doing their job. He noted that foreigners have also taken advantage of the situation on ground to rip Nigeria off through all manners of shady deals and impositions, he said that the lack of investment in the Ports led to their privatisation which brought in these foreign concerns who have exacerbated the economic woes of the country. The aviation sector would have also been made to suffer the same fate but for the warning and the insistence of the labour unions that even if there is going to be any privatisation, it would have to be done the right way and not as a means of sharing the national cake to friends, families and cronies.
Mr. Chukwu also mentioned the exchange rate and the high inflationary trend as one other factor why people are not bringing in as much cargoes as they usually do. He urged the federal government to use the right personel under their employ to formulate the right policies in order to achieve the right results. He said that our monetary system has collapsed leading to the very poor exchange, he chided the Central Bank of Nigeria for lacking the necessary idea to stabilize the naira. He urged the apex bank to make foreign exchange available to businesses in order that the economy might grow and poverty curtailed.
He also pointed out that the infrastructural decay and its consequences makes another factor why there is cargo deficit. The roads are bad, the rails are not working, there exists very little storage facilities, in a nutshell, there is a dearth of infrastructure and this makes doing business pretty difficult.
Mr. Chukwu noted that the issue of piracy within our waters is a big factor as even the operators in International Maritime circles have refused to remove Nigeria from the war risk insurance making it look like we are in a war situation. This is not good for business.
Mr. Chukwu also said that bad governance is a militating factor against trade and this is a reason why people may not want to bring their goods and services into our country. People do business where the atmosphere is right and therefore will not go to a place that is as volatile as we have now in the country.
He admonishes Nigerians and her government to learn how to build and not how to destroy. They say that if you want to work through a road, you learn those who have worked the road.
“We should learn to use our human resources to properly manage all the other resources that we have in this country to make it what we desire of it” he concluded.
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