The Managing Director Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko has said that the NPA is gradually eliminating systematic corruption which has been the clog to exponentially grow Nigerian Ports.
He said this much recently when he welcomed members of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) led by Soji Apampa, at the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
In a statement released from the office of GM, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Ibrahim Nasiru,
the MD was quoted to say that NPA Management appreciates the key role the network is playing in conjunction with key sister agencies and organisations to create a convivial
environment for businesses to thrive in the nation’s maritime industry.
Koko 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 boss is delightful that the anti-corruption reforms introduced by the Buhari led Federal Government has to a large extent reduced corruption and other criminal tendencies in the Maritime Industry, especially the Ports.
According to him, “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 5 from over 150 cases when this anti-corruption campaign started. We have seen the progress being recorded in all aspect 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 enthused.
The MD was of the view that having achieved and addressed the bottleneck with sailing and berthing of vessels, attention should now be on the ease of cargo clearance at the port and ways of boosting the global competitiveness of the country’s exports. He stressed that concerted action is thus needed to make cargo clearance simpler, faster and market friendly.
He prayed for better collaboration 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, as according to him, this will 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.
Responding, Soji Apampa explained that the purpose of their visit is to inform the Authority on the achievements recorded, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, to engender zero tolerance to corruption in the port as well as remove obsqurantism in port operations in line with international the Ease of doing business and best practices.
He mentioned that the Nigerian port ecosystem has witnessed a positive change in the last three years, as reported demands made by corrupt public officials on ship-masters and shipping agents in the process of vessel clearance has reduced from three to two digits. “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 has 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 appealed to the NPA Management to sustain the collaboration with his group. He requested for increased support in terms of logistics and manpower deployment, whilst assuring the NPA Management of 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.
However, the MD reiterated that his administration is ready to work collaboratively with the Nigerian Navy to localize modernize training and capacity building aspect of hydrographic survey, for the benefit of the nation’s maritime economy.
He said this was in consideration with
the remarkable growth in the size and number of merchant ships.
Bello-Koko pledged that the Authority would liaise with the Nigerian Maritime Administration (NIMASA) for support to get the wrecks removed, just as the NPA would continue to facilitate berthing spaces for vessels arrested by order of the Court.