Port stakeholders on Wednesday said the successful implementation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) would lead to a cleaner and efficient port in one year.
They made this known at the stakeholders sensitisation programme on the implementation of the NPPM by the Project Steering Committee (PSC) in Lagos.
Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in her address, noted that the quest for transparency in the port sector had led to the evolution of the NPPM.
Bala-Usman, represented by Mrs Eniola Williams, general manager, Public Private Partnership, NPA, said that creating a transparent and efficient port system aligned with the presidential order for the ease of doing business in the country.
She pointed out that the key objective of the port manual was to make the port procedure transparent to the public, curtail corruption flash points and others.
“Today’s stakeholders meeting is a step in the right direction. We set out to get stakeholders by-in and they have the willing disposition to see it work, and we have presented the manual to them to be viewed as a public private partnership.
“For us in the NPA, we are the gateway to the nation’s economy, and when the vessels come to the gate, what happens immediately forms the perception and so the need to change that perception.
“We have given assurances that complaints will be speedly addressed, assurances on Nigeria being the leading port in Africa in the long run and also made the sub-regional head, and other issues like that of payment to be addressed,” she said.
Bala-Usman said that adherence to NPPM would improve Nigeria’s position in the Transparency International rating of the nation in global corruption index.
Also, Mr Hassan Bello, executive secretary, Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC), said that the port manual was a key indicator for effective implementation of Executive Order 1 issued in 2017.
This, he said, was geared toward promoting transparency and efficiency in the business environment.
Bello, represented by Ms Celine Ifeora, deputy director, Regulatory Service, NSC, noted that in the course of implementing the manual, the NSC would apply appropriate sanctions to any erring agency for non compliance.
“The federal government upon the recommendation of the ministry of transportation had in December 2020 appointed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the lead agency in the implementation of the NPPM.
“Also, in 2016, the Port Support Service Portal(PSSP) was launched and the Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) of all port agencies and operators.
“These measures are to improve efficiency and accountability in the port sector and ultimately improve the perception of Nigeria in the Corruption Perception Index(CPI) of Transparency International,” he said.
The executive secretary, therefore, urged all regulatory authorities, service providers, users of shipping services and other stakeholders to support and comply with extant government regulations.
Bello said that the port manual emphasises, among others, joint ship boarding and the NPA would coordinate the bus in and out in line with international best practices in joint boarding procedures at the port.
He said that others were the physical examination of cargo to be coordinated by the Nigerian Customs Service and the zero tolerance for corruption such as demand for souvenir or gratification for cargo clearance
In addition, he said the port support service portal and other range of other reforms were being championed by the federal government for the purpose of ease of doing business.
“These reforms, if implemented appropriately, will position the transportation industry as our country’s major economic source,” he said.
Head, Technical Unit, Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms Agency, Mrs Lilian Ekeanyanwu, while introducting the NPPM, said that in the next one year, they expect to see a cleaner and accountable port.
“We conducted a corruption risk assessment through the request of an international organisation due to the issue of Nigerian port being corrupt.
“We introduced an integrity plan and the port process manual fell under the medium plan, and it is geared toward checkmating anomalies, compliants in the port.
“The manual will address issues in a timely manner and so stakeholders should key into it for the country to have a cleaner and accountable port,” she said.