Nigeria warns against unapproved agencies at seaports

David Adekunle, Lagos

Nigeria's seaports

The Nigerian Government has called for co-operation and collaboration of all approved agencies and stakeholders within the Port environment to actualise the implementation of the 24-hour operations at the seaports.

This is in consonance with its determination and renewed drive towards the implementation and enforcement of regulations and policies through the ease of doing business in all the ports across the country.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman alongside the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Colonel Hameed Ali made the call during a stakeholders meeting in Western Ports, Lagos.

Executive Order
Usman said that the Executive Order approved by government was targeted at improving efficient port operations.

He explained that this would be critically enforced to the latter through the harmonisation of operational ideas and views by the relevant agencies.

The Executive Order according to her, “will ensure that unauthorised personnel in the ports are refused access thereby reducing human traffic.”

Stringent measure would be put in place to also reduce corrupt practices that could hamper greater efficient operation across the Ports. It would also prioritise the exportation of agriculture produce and mineral resources at the ports.

This Order is to ”be actualised within 30 days of its issuance,” she stated.

The NPA boss assured all stakeholders present at the meeting that the approved agencies would ensure that it worked round the clock towards the swift implementation of this order.

“We intend to discuss on ways of harmonising our operational bases and challenges to achieving the ease of doing business within our ports. I call on all and sundry to collaborate as the Port is the gateway to Nigeria’s economy,’’ Usman said.

She postulated that touting henceforth was not permitted just as giving and taking bribe at the ports was outlawed.

The Executive Order also provided for disciplinary actions on defaulters, who would be made to face the full weight of the law concerning the Orders.

The agencies streamlined to operate at the Ports are; the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Ports Health.

Colonel Hameed Ali reiterated the importance of the Executive Order as a strategy towards the change process put in place by government towards the improved operational efficiency at Seaports.

“The Order will allow for the reduction in the time of transaction by our customers through the elimination of bureaucracy and various bottle necks prevalent presently in our Ports,” he stated.

The Executive Order would also ensure that port users were protected from unnecessary expenditure.

“We need to join hands together to achieve this mandate; we should ensure that we do not lengthen the period of doing business at the Ports unnecessarily,” he added.

Mercy Chukwudiebere