The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Mohammed Bello Koko, has expressed the organization’s strong commitment towards the elimination of endemic corruption and other criminal vices at the nation’s seaports.
According to a statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communication, Chief Ibrahim Nasiru, Bello-Koko made the remark recently when he played host to members of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) that visited him in his office. The team was led by Mr. Soji Apampa.
Bello-Koko also affirmed the organisation’s position to operate in compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as stipulated in the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM). The document is a project developed and funded by the Authority to enhance operational excellence and service delivery at all Nigerian seaports and terminals.
The NPA boss said the management appreciated the positive role being played by MACN in partnership with key sister agencies and organizations to create a friendlier environment for doing business in the nation’s maritime industry.
He also commended the group for promoting the gains of business integrity and raising awareness on the negative impact of corruption on the country’s image and global rating.
The NPA helmsman expressed delight that the anti-corruption reforms introduced by the Buhari-led Federal Government had significantly reduced corrupt and related criminal practices in Nigerian ports and the shipping sector.
“The NPA management under my watch is happy to note that we are doing well in view of the drop in the incidences of corruption to five from over 150 cases when this anti-corruption campaign started. We have seen the progress being recorded in all aspects of port operations as well as revenue into government coffers. It shows that sooner than later, the port industry in Nigeria would become the most attractive maritime cluster in the region, going by our market share and capacity”, he said.
He added that having achieved and addressed the bottlenecks with sailing and berthing of vessels, attention should now be on the ease of cargo clearance at the ports and ways of boosting the global competitiveness of the country’s exports.
The Managing Director elaborated that concerted action was needed in order to make cargo clearance simpler, faster and market-friendly.
Koko therefore called for better synergy between the critical agencies of government involved in maritime trade in line with the NPPM and the protocols guiding the ease of doing business at the port. This, he noted, would bring to an end to long delays in cargo examination, boost the country’s international trade, generate thousands of jobs, increase revenue to government and raise profit of private enterprises.
The leader of the MACN team, Mr. Soji Apampa, explained that the purpose of their visit was to intimate the Authority about the achievements recorded in collaboration with other key stakeholders, to engender zero tolerance to corruption in the port as well as remove opaqueness in port operations in line with international best practices.
Stacked containers at port
In his words, “The introduction of the SOPs and NNPM has increased the level of transparency around processes to be complied with in Nigerian ports. The introduction of the Port Service Support Portal has also made complaints and grievance handling processes more transparent and effective”.
He further said that his group from 2017 had trained over a thousand personnel serving in the port, including staff of NPA, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Immigrations Service and other agencies across all port locations in the country.
Apampa thereafter, appealed to the NPA management to sustain the collaboration with his network. He requested for increased support in terms of logistics and manpower deployment, while assuring the group’s readiness to provide technical support and training to staff of the Authority, in view of MACN’s affiliation with the World Maritime University.