The South-East Amalgamated Traders Association has appealed to the Federal Government to decongest the two seaports in Port Harcourt, Rivers to further enhance the ease of doing business in the zone.
The new President of the association, Chief Gozie Akudolu, made the appeal during his inauguration in Enugu on Tuesday.
Akudolu decried the delay in clearing goods from the Eastern ports due largely to congestion.
He opined that the decongestion of the ports would help to alleviate the plight of traders, who patronised the ports.
He said: “I want to use this opportunity to call on the Comptroller-General of Customs to, as a matter of urgency, begin a holistic decongestion of Port Harcourt ports to alleviate the sufferings of traders in the South-East.
He said that in the past, it only took abot 30 days to clear and take delivery of goods after the arrival of the cargo.
He regretted that traders now spent as much as 65 days before they could take delivery of their goods because of congestion.
He said: “This is adversely affecting the ease of doing business in the South-East.’’
Akudolu, who congratulated the South-East governors on their re-election, urged them to ensure effective delivery of democracy dividend to the people.
He thanked members of SEAMATA for giving the new executive the mandate to pilot the affairs of the association.
He promised that they would work assiduously to promote the welfare of members and ensure a harmonious business environment during their tenure.
He said: “We are highly elated by the trust and confidence which you all bestowed on us through your votes.
“I wish to assure you that we shall maintain the confidence you reposed in us throughout our tenure,’’ the association president said.
He also congratulated the immediate past president of SEAMATA and member, House of Representatives, representing North and South Constituency, Okwudili Ezenwankwo, on his victory at the poll.
“Ezenwankwo’s noble and outstanding achievement in SEAMATA brought unity and peace in the association and among traders.”
He also lauded the grand patron of the association, Chief Emeka Offor, for supporting traders financially, especially in time of difficulties.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that SEAMATA is the umbrella body for all traders and market associations/unions in the South-East.