All federal government agencies in the maritime sector have pledged to support the smooth take-off of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) as the government begins its implementation.
The agencies that have pledged support for the implementation of NPPM include: the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The NPPM was launched by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, late last year and announced the appointment of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as the lead agency to implement it.
NPPM is to enable Nigeria improve its ranking on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
At a sensitisation meeting for government agencies and stakeholders in the maritime sector on the implementation of the NPPM organised by the NSC, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, stressed the need to reduce cargo dwell time at Nigerian ports from 21 days to the regional average of seven days.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, underscored the importance of the NPPM and the need to sanitise Nigeria’s port system.
Amaechi in his keynote address emphasised the enormity of the responsibility placed the NSC to drive the process and urged government agencies and the generality of the public to cooperate with NSC.
Bello on his part said the NPPM was key to transparency in Nigerian ports.
“There is a need to reduce dual time of cargo from 21 days to the regional average of 7 days. The NSC is not only looking at the ease of doing business but at the cost of doing business,” he said.
He added that the electronic call up system by the NPA would aid in easing the current traffic situation around the port.
He sought for the cooperation of sister agencies to ensure the manual is fully implemented in order to improve the ranking of Nigeria in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
Also speaking, the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the various agencies in the maritime sector are closely tied, hence, the need for seamless cooperation and integration of relevant agencies.
The NPA, she promised, would ensure compliance to the manual and implement sanctions for non-compliance.
Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, spoke on some of the challenges in the sector, which he said include: insecurity and corruption.
According to him methods of addressing these issues are embedded in the NPPM adding that, “Our industry can only be sustained in terms of economic growth if we have sustainable systems in place to make our ports attractive.”
Comptroller General, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali re(Rtd.) represented by Acting Comptroller, Tariff, NCS, Suleiman Chiroma, said that there is a need for the NCS to deploy sophisticated modern scanners to replace physical examination.
He added that at the time of physical examination, all relevant agencies should be present and failure to comply would mean exemption.
Also speaking, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said government agencies are not powerless, they have enforcement powers and it is time to effectively use these enforcement powers. He pledged the support of his agency to implement the NPPM.
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by the Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Fredrick Oladeyinde said the Lagos state is on top of the Apapa gridlock situation.
“We are working with the NPA to make sure truck parks are established along logistics routes. Lagos has given out 31 hectares of land for these truck parks for instance. We will continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure we develop the best port system in Africa”, he said.