• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Multiple checkpoints on Nigerian roads hindering trade growth – Experts

Multiple checkpoints on Nigerian roads hindering trade growth – Experts

Multiple checkpoints and roadblocks mounted by state and non-state actors have been identified as one of the biggest challenges to trade within Nigeria and between Nigeria and other West African countries.

According to trade experts, mounting roadblocks allow state and non-state actors to collect illegal tolls from truckers and other trading public.

Truckers that transport goods from the port to the importers’ warehouses in different parts of the country and from Nigeria to other West African countries, pay un-receipted money to security officials and miscreants that mount checkpoints despite the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business policy.

Recently, Okafor Stephen, general manager of Operations at the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), told the Nigerian Shippers’ Council that about 53 checkpoints exist between Mile 2 and Seme border.

He said the numerous checkpoints along the Mile 2/Seme border resulted in extorting truckers carrying goods along the route.

According to him, extortion has been on the rise, and it seems nothing is being done to stem the menace.

This, he said, limits the growth of trade between countries, particularly Benin Republic and Nigeria.

A study by Borderless Alliance stated that multiple checkpoints play a significant role in elongating the travel and time it takes to do business across the border posts within the West African region.

The study confirmed that countless checkpoints are also responsible for the high cost of trade in the West African region.

“The existence of multiple Customs and Police checkpoints along the routes from the ports to the border posts including the physical state of the roads and unlawful extortion are issues contributing to delays and costs for businesses.

“Nigeria needs to reduce the number of checkpoints to facilitate regional trade. Time is money in transport and businesses, and delays encountered at the border stations and on the roads translate to money that includes payment of demurrage and storage charges at the ports,” the study stated.

Aside from the Nigeria-Benin trade corridor, security operatives also mount countless checkpoints on interstate roads to extort travellers.

For instance, travelling to the eastern part of Nigeria from Lagos has become like a journey through the eye of the needle as uniform military and paramilitary officers lay siege to the roads in the disguise of mounting security checkpoints.

These security officials not only delay travellers but also collect illegal and un-receipted tolls from bus drivers and truckers going on their legitimate business.

This action delays travellers and also forces many to sleep on the road for inability to reach their destination as and when due.