Two months after the presidency ordered the immediate decongestion of Apapa ports and its environs in Lagos State, President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja said he was saddened by persistent chaotic situation around the ports.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had on May 22, issued an order directing a special task force to, within two weeks, clear the traffic gridlock which had made Apapa ports and its environs difficult to access.
The directive followed a meeting the vice president earlier held with relevant stakeholders on April 25, this year. But about four weeks after the directive was issued, the gridlock still persisted, prompting the presidency to extend the directive by another two weeks.
However, another four weeks after, only a little improvement has been achieved.
Speaking while receiving members of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in the State House, the president lamented the development, observing that the situation remained a challenge.
However, he disclosed that the federal government was working with Lagos State Government to end the menace.
“I must admit the Apapa gridlock still remains a challenge. It saddens me that businesses have had to suffer as a result of this. We are doing our very best working with the Lagos State Government to bring an end to this issue,” he said.
The president who assured his guests of federal government’s continuous support to the private sector, said in the last four years, the government had invested heavily in infrastructure and also supported banks to provide loans to traders.
He also said the government signed executive orders to support local content and had focused on ease of doing business with a view to aiding investments adding that the decision to widely consult the private sector on Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement underscored government’s interest in sustainable and inclusive growth.
“In the last four years, we have invested heavily in infrastructure development. We supported our development banks to provide loans to traders and small enterprises. We signed executive orders to support local content consumption. We also focused on enhancing ease of doing business to facilitate investment.
“Thankfully, there was alignment with the monetary authorities and this significantly contributed to the successes we are seeing today.