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Shippers’ Council begins sanitization of ports

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) recently in Abuja hosted a sensitization meeting for government agencies and stakeholders in the maritime sector on the implementation of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM). This meeting was held at the instance of the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Honorable ChibuikeAmaechi who attended in person along with the top echelon of the transportation ministry, to underscore the importance of the NPPM and the need to sanitize Nigeria’s port system. Also in attendance were Perm. Sec Transportation, MD NPA, DG NIMASA, Chairman ICPC, Registrar CRFFN, Chairman, Governing Council of NSC Head TUGAR, President ANCLA, President NAGAFF, . The following were represented: Lagos State Governor, MD NIWA, CG Nigeria Customs Service, CG Nigerian Immigration Service among others.

A major highlight of the meeting was the presentation of the Port Service Support Portal PSSP which will be the primary tool to drive the implementation of the NPPM. It may be recalled that the NPPM was launched by the Vice-President, Professor YemiOsinbajo on December 9 2020 in Abuja and he announced the appointment of Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the lead agency to implement the NPPM. The NPPM will enable Nigeria improve its ranking on the Corruption Perception Index, CPI.

Please find below highlights of discussions at the meeting.

In his keynote address he emphasized the enormity of the responsibility placed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council for driving the process and urged government agencies and the generality of the public to cooperate with NSC.

The ES/CEO NSC said that the Nigerian Ports Process manual is 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”, he said. “NSC is not only looking at the ease of doing business but at the cost of doing business”, he continued. He added that the electronic call up system by the Nigerian Ports Authority 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).

Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) – ProfessorBolajiOwasanoye

“The agencies are not powerless, they have enforcement power it is time to effectively use these enforcement powers”, he said. He pledged the support of his agency to implement the NPPM.

Head Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR) – Ms.Lillian Ekeanyanwu

She also applauded the collaboration of the NSC and other agencies in realizing the NPPM. “We have confidence in the NSC and NPA and we would issue a scorecard on performance”, she said.

DG NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, spoke on some of the challenges in the sector. They include insecurity and corruption. According to himmethods of addressing these issues are embedded in the NPPM. “Our industry can only be sustained in terms of economic growth if we have sustainable systems in place to make our ports attractive”, he said.

Governor of Lagos State, represented by the Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation – Dr. Fredrick Oladeyinde

Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwoolu, represented by the Lagos state Commissioner of Transportation 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.

CEO Convention on Business Integrity, representing the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network – OlusojiApampa

He said since an information desk was put up in 2020, 90 vessels doing business via Nigerian waters were monitored and only 16 had issues which were resolved within 1 – 4 hours. He encouraged stakeholders to be patient.

Registrar/CEO Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) – Barrister Sam Nwakohu

He congratulated the ES/CEO NSC for a job well started. He spoke on the importance of collaboration amongst the maritime agencies which freight forwarders rely upon to ease their business. He added that the manual is a good initiative that would improve the nation’s economy.

The Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), HadizaBala Usman said that the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the various agencies in the maritime sector are closely tied therefore 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.

Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, represented by Acting Comptroller, Tariff, NCS – Suleiman Chiroma

Suleiman Chiroma said that there is a need for the Nigerian Customs Service 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.

The meeting came to close with a vote of thanks by the Director Maritime Service, Awwal D. Suleiman, Federal Ministry of Transportation.