Apparently worried by the frustrations faced by industrialists in the hands of the Nigerian Customs, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has frowned at the unnecessary bureaucracy and bottlenecks enthroned by the agency in dealing with investors.
The minister, who was in Calabar on a one-day working visit to the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), said the first thing is to make life easier for investors in terms of their operations, to ensure they are not unduly troubled.
Apparently not happy with the manner the officers delayed opening of containers for the country’s digital switchover and Surface Mount Technology SMT lines belonging to Gospell Digital despite presidential directives, Enelamah said this does not augur well for business in the country as the customs are not independent of the federal government.
He said: “When I talk about presidential order on ease of doing business, it is all about implementation. It is a culture of service that we need. As a people, we are all guilty, in the sense that we have not had a culture of service to the degree that we should, and I think as a country, we should change.”
On his part, the Group Managing Director, Gospell Digital, Godfrey Ohuabuma, expressed happiness that the minister witnessed the discharge and opening of the multi billion naira factory equipment which is already providing jobs for over 800 fresh university graduates.
The equipment is the latest technology in the production and assembly of mobile phones, electricity meters, tablets, television sets and other electronic devices which were hitherto produced by the Asian tigers.
The equipment had earlier arrived Apapa Ports since late June and was cleared to proceed to Calabar.
The eight trucks laden with the equipment did not arrive Calabar till last Thursday evening.
However, the offloading had to wait because of the customs delay.
A mild drama ensued with the arrival of the minister who directed them to open the containers without further delay.
The customs boss who was nowhere to be found suddenly emerged even as a junior officer had accompanied the equipment from Apapa to Calabar with all the documents but disappeared as soon as it arrived the zone.