How Poor Planning Killed The Economy?

By  Stephen Ubanna

More  facts have emerged why the Nigeria economy has not been growing as expected over the years. This is because of poor planning  and appointment of  inexperienced  people as economic Advisers or to head the  ministry of Finance oversees.  The fallout was ill advise to past and present political leaders leading to poor  planning on how to speedily  grow  the economy.

Patrick Egesi, a United Kingdom trained Freight Forwarder and former Director  General of National Maritime Administration, NMA, now baptized , National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, says ”poor planning  of  the economy by those that  ought to know better was responsible for the sluggish  growth of the nation’s economy. He noted that  experts who understands  the language of growing the economy would never be brought close to the system by the political leaders  because they have no one to push forward their case. .

Egesi who spoke at a  Workshop on the ” Prospects and Challenges of Logistics  Services as the livewire of Nigeria’s Maritime sector”,  organised by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria , MARAN,  at its International Press center, Apapa, Lagos, disclosed that  the country had found itself on the cross the road because  those who have no  idea about the economy had been appointed Economic Advisers and Ministers of National Planning or Finance  to oversee the coming.

Apapa-Oshodi Expressway: A poorly Planned Road.

The former NMA boss, now a private citizen  remarked that the country  got it right with the appointment of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a World Bank top executive, by former President Olusegun Obasanj and later retained by the then President Goodluck Jonathan to over-see the economy. He maintained  that Nigeria is where it is today economically in the comity of nations  because of ”poor planning”.

The renowned Freight Forwarder  cited the the Oshodi -Apapa Express Way which turned a trap because of heavy trucks plying the road. He stressed that if the  country had been properly planned , there was no basis for heavy trucks to ply on the road but a different  road network provided for their use . The  former  NMA helmsman frowned at the regular site of truck laden Containers on the road. he disclosed that throughout his stay in the United Kingdom as a working student, he never saw a truck laden with Container on the road in London.   He disclosed that truck laden with Containers could not use roads used by car but cars could use roads used  by such trucks because of the light weight.

Giving his personal views, he said the country ought to have been planned by providing motor able roads to ease logistics of moving cargoes from the ports to another location outside the port. An angry Egesi was worried that the government had approved the establishment of Inland depots in the six geo-political regions of the country without taking  into consideration the state of the roads. He queried: where  are the roads that lead to the Inland depots for trade facilitation.

He lamented that the country’s political leaders over time ”forgot about our unity to pursue their  narrow interest”, stating that they were not concerned ”how you move or connect to your neighbour in another location”.

The NMA former Chief Executive also came hard on the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, which he described as” an enemy of the people”.  He is not happy that the Customs which ought to be an ”accelerator of trade”, is more concerned  in advising the government on how to raise  duties  as a way of generating more revenue from the maritime sector.  Many believe that that there are still people in Egisi’s class  who still have much to contribute in the development  of this country. One of the legacies of the renowned  freight Forwarder turned Administrator was  the former NMA, which metamorphosed into the present NIMASA.

The present office Complex of the agency  was said to have been bought at N41 million  from the property owner in the late ’80s  and the necessary structures put in place to reguale the nation’s shipping industry  professionally. His exit and others who had the interest of the agency at heart may have  thrown it open to politicians  to manipulate and kill  the dream of stting up by the then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, rtd.

It would be recalled that Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and Comptroller General, NCS, and his men celebrated  the N1.037 tr that was paid into the Federation Account in 2017 as against N770.57 billion paid  in 2016. He maintained that the  government could be thinking of how much to generate from the Maritime sector because there is no planning. ” if you don’t plan , you are bound to lose economically”, he said. It is not surprising why Henry Cline, General Manager, PTOL, who read the position paper of   the Concessioners at the MARAN Workshop  warned that a country that does not develop its Agricultural sector in order to export but depend only on imports  to raise revenue to execute its Capital projects ” is doomed to suffer economically and not make progress”.

lucky Eyis Amiewero, National President,  Council of Managing Directors  of Licensed Customs  Agents, NCMDLCA, said the situation is so bad that  the access roads that connects the major ports  in Lagos: Apapa, Tincan Island,  Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, Brawal and Lilipond  could not be accessed by port users due to bad roads, pot holes, and gridlocks, blaming on lack of planning by policy makers.

Amiewero disclosed that ” the negative impact  the  bad roads, pot holes,  and gridlock constitute  to the conomy is massive  that runs into trillions of naira  annually,”  noting that this has led   diversion of vessels  to neighbouring ports in the West African sub-region.

He lamented that due to poor planning, ” Tincan, PTML, Brawal and Lilipond  are surrounded by numerous tank farms  which puts the port environment at risk of fire disaster.”

The NCMDLCA  boss  who is worried about what poor planning had done to the economy  said the Oshodi-Apap Express Way  and the road linking  the ports   had turned to a parking lot  for truck with emty Containers for off loading  into  the ports ,truck  going for loading Containers ,trucks  waiting for clients, breakdown trucks, export laden Containers,  empty tanker waiting for loading of fuel, empty tankers looking for clients, breakdown takers and Concentration of tank farms along the access the road.

Cline, the PTOL,  General Manager,  is optimistic that ” as the country plans  and advances economically , the dispensability of logistics practice  will become more pronounced  and play  its rightful role  in the economic  progress of the country”.

H e may have thrown a challenge to president Muhammadu Buhari and his array of Economic Advisers , Kemi Adesun, Minister of Finance and the minister of National planning to put on their thinking cap to facilitate further development  of the nation’s  logistics infrastructure  to effectively perform and eliminate congestions on the existing road network to the port.

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