The executive order issued recently by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, may have yielded fruits as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has since cancelled multiple checks at the Murtala Muhammed International Airports in Lagos. The development would give relief to passengers travelling through the airports, who hitherto, were subjected to multiple checks and levies by different agencies of government.
Travelling through the Nigeria’s airports has often been a nightmare compared with airports in other climes, where passenger screening is performed largely at just one point. FAAN should therefore hasten to extend the cancellation to all other airports in the country to enhance smooth travel and give Nigeria a better image.
Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, disclosed in Lagos, after a meeting with all the security agencies, that FAAN had cancelled multiple checks of passengers and luggage at airports nationwide to improve free movement and passenger experience.
Consequently, the multiple checks by the various law enforcement agencies had been harmonised in line with the executive order.According to Dunoma, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos had been chosen to begin the implementation, being the busiest airport in the country. Henceforth, a single screening unit would be seen at the departure halls of the airport.
Dunoma stressed that all the agencies had come together to effectively and seamlessly implement the order without compromising security procedures. This is indeed very important as there should be no security lapses as a result of the new arrangement.Under the new regime agencies would check luggage of passengers at designated areas and not within the departure halls as was the case before.
Last month, Acting President Osinbajo endorsed and signed three Executive Orders expected to boost the ease of doing business in Nigeria. The development is expected to increase patronage for locally manufactured goods and remove all bureaucratic bottlenecks that stifle business growth in the country.
The three executive orders touched on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment; timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory agencies, including companies owned by the Federal Government; and support for local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government.
Certainly, Osinbajo should be commended for the move to remove the bottlenecks that have so far hindered business dealings in Nigeria. It would be recalled that Nigeria ranked 169th position in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index for 2017 out of the 190 countries surveyed.
The report indicated that Nigeria moved up by only one point from 170th position on the 2016 ranking. This, obviously, is not a favourable commentary on Nigeria, Africa’s giant. It is little wonder then that business activities in Nigeria are low and the economy is not as it should be.
The World Bank report, for instance, revealed that Nigeria ranked 138th position in terms of Starting a Business, 174th position in terms of Getting Construction Permit, 180th position in terms of Getting Electricity, 182nd position in terms of Registering Property, 44th position in terms of Getting Credit, 32nd position in terms of Protecting minority investors, 182nd position in terms of Paying Taxes, 181st position in terms of Trading Across Borders, 139th position in terms of Enforcing Contracts, and 140th position in terms of Resolving Insolvency. It is only in the area of access to credit that the country moved up to 16th position.
The implication is that the country has a lot to do to redirect and quicken the tempo of doing business. Given the magnitude of the problem, what the FAAN is doing is just a little token but, certainly, a good starting point.
Carrying out passenger screening at one designated point would help decongest the airport departure halls apart from removing undue delays caused by multiple checks by different agencies of government.
The World Bank report has given an insight into how much improvement that is needed to make things work well. From starting a business to registering property and resolving insolvency, as the case may be, improvement is needed.
This demands a total overhaul of the business environment and a new business culture. The problem applies not only at the federal level but also in the states and local governments. FAAN should, however, diligently implement its reform at the airports to serve as a shining example to other areas of the political economy that suffer opaqueness.