By Omenihu Alfred

The umbrella body of major markets in Lagos under the aegis of Ndi-Igbo Amaka Progressive Association has stated clearly that this policy was shrouded in secrecy via a press release duly signed by the Secretary-General of the Association, Hon Comrade Chinedu Ukatu.

According to the press release which was made available to the press on Tuesday, 22nd of September, 2020, the aimed is to alert the Government, the citizenry especially the trading public that they were not informed and sensitized about the process of e-Customs Modernization policy;
saying that as a Trading Association and representatives of International Markets who are mostly involved in international trade and the consuming public who contribute majorly in the revenue generation they ought to be carried along with trading policies.
In the words of their Secretary-General, Hon Comrade Chinedu Ukatu, this was necessitated by past experiences as regards to policy formulation processes that affecting their trading community. “We are very much aware that we can’t alter or stop Government policies but as critical stakeholders, we have the powers and wherewithal to offer strong advice that can strengthen the process or advise the government to alter the same if it seems unpopular with adverse effects.”

“Over time, the government does refer to us as INFORMAL SECTOR, and I dare ask! When are we going to be FORMAL? The revenue we generate in our Markets cannot be equaled to the Manufacturers and we say it without any fear of CONTRADICTION. Why should the Government thinker on the restructuring of a sector like NCS without input or consultation from stakeholders like us? We strongly believe that most private sector investors are not genuinely willing to finance a project despite the long term contract viability because of the thought of taking risks. Did Government consider this on this process?”

“After a painstaking review and from the information emanating from social media and other media, it becomes imperative for us to ask the Motive of the government on this. It’s not an overstatement that the trading public sustains the economy of this nation mostly in this evil pandemic Covid-19 period. The revenues we generate from the markets are unimaginable. Why are we neglected or relegated to the background in policy formations?”

“Note, Our Association, Ndigboamaka Progressive Association (an umbrella body of major markets in Lagos) are not saying that the e-Customs Modernization policy is good or bad, we don’t intend to be misguided with our belief or having mindset regarding the Government intent with such decisions as concessions of its agency without getting further clarifications for its actions”.

“Therefore, on behalf of our Association, the umbrella body of major markets and also shippers cutting across International markets in Lagos, we shall appreciate the setting up of a joint committee with Government to avail us the opportunity to be briefed by Government so that we can ask questions and equally offer our genuine advice.”