Bala Usman: Government officials biggest threat to Osinbajo’s order; port concession a success story

Hadiza Bala Usman - NPA

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has identified the attitude of government agencies operating at the nation’s seaports as a major drawback to the implementation of an Executive Order signed recently by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. 

Speaking on a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme on Thursday, Usman said one of the major challenges the NPA is facing with the implementation of the 24-hour port operation as mandated by the Executive Order has to do with government agencies.

“You have mentioned executive orders and the need for us to have 24 hours operation in our ports. There are various elements to these, we have respective agencies of government that hitherto do not operate for 24 hours. 

“They come to work at 10am, they work till 3pm; they close. They are not here on public holidays; they are not here on weekends.

“So no matter what the terminal operators do and indeed the Nigerian Ports Authority do in providing berthing services and ensuring that the cargo are removed from the vessels, if these agencies of government are not on the ground to implement and do the inspections required, you cannot have 24-hour service.

“So, one of the things around the Executive Order is on ensuring that every agency of government that is required to operate in the ports, should be there for 24 hours. And for those 24 hours, we mean doing the work 24 hours.

“Having a shift where the staff are actually there on ground and ensuring that if we say you should be at work by 8am, you should be at work by 8am.

“We have situations when an inspection is scheduled and the respective agencies of government are not there, and they keep people waiting and work for only three hours in a day. So how do we expect to perform optimally if examinations are done arbitrarily, people are not adhering to the work schedule?” 

Usman also said that the port concession programme implemented by the Federal Government in 2006 has by and large been successful, despite some identified challenges, which she said will be addressed in the course of the concession agreement review. 

“Our port concessioning has been a success story; we need to acknowledge that the landlord model put in place over the last 11 years has been successful.

“We are working to review the concession agreement as we’ve said. 

“Both of us (NPA and operators) are in agreement on the need to review the concession agreement, and we are working to do that in 2017.

“The revenues that are being raised by these terminal operators are beyond what the NPA was raising when it was operating the terminal. So indeed, the concessioning is a successful story but there are areas that need to be addressed,” she said.   

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