The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi yesterday launched the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the Port Services Support Portal for operations at the six ports in Nigeria. The event took place at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos.
Amechi said the idea behind the launch of the SOP and PSSP was to implement the Corruption Risk Assessment project in the six ports in Nigeria which is an anti-corruption project that is focusing on the strategies to reduce corruption in the Nigerian ports, in order to guarantee the security and safety of people and cargo within the ports and waterways.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman, said both the SOP and PSSP had been officially unveiled by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on June, 23 in Abuja.
He said the SOP and PSSP would support port infrastructure development for sustenance of seaborne trade and as well reduce cost of doing business at the ports which will induce cut in the cost of goods in the markets for citizens.
He noted that it was necessary to create a sufficient condition for the ports sector to efficiently support the economy to enable faithful delivery of ports services in a friendly environment which is devoid of conflict interests and corrupt practices.
“According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2015 Review of Maritime Transport, the total volume of cargo carried by seaborne trade in 2014 was 9.84 billion, the World Shipping Council 2016 report show that ships transport carries approximately 60 per cent of the value of global seaborne trade representing more than USD $4 trillion worth of goods annually,” he said.
The Minister said the ‘Maritime Anti-corruption Network (MACN) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had prior to 2013 revealed that the prerequisites for port effectiveness and efficiency in Nigeria were in short supply and recommended an intervention by government.
“In 2013, The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences commission (ICPC), Technical Union on Governance and Anti-corruption Reforms (TUGAR) and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) carried out a Corruption Risk assessment at the six (6) ports in Nigeria (Calabar, Tin Can, Apapa, Warri, Port Harcourt and Onne) aimed at strengthening preventive mechanisms by identifying areas that are prone to corruption in the ports. The Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) report was launched in December 2013.
“The report amongst other recommendations made a case for stakeholders to jointly implement integrity plans to strengthen transparency and accountability towards enhanced service delivery,” he declared.
In her opening remarks, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman said, “The initiative of drafting, adoption and harmonization of SOPs of port operation in Nigeria seeks to enhance transparency and accountability to ensure the achievement of user-friendly business environment in the Nigerian ports for greater economic performance.
“SOP as a process map for each port agency helps to establish operational standards and guide customers on what to expect at the ports and the need to receive good quality services and will foster accountability and serve as a corruption prevention tool.”
She said, SOP and PSSP will also minimize variation and promote quality through consistent implementation of procedures within the organization”.
“With this launch today, we are certain that unwholesome practices by service providers at the Ports will be greatly reduced and completely eliminated and it will become easier to detect culprits and defaulters and sanction them,” she said.
Also speaking, the Stakeholder Manager of APM Terminals Apapa, Daniel Odibe, said, “The implementation of SOP and PSSP will create foundation for reviews which leads to improvement at the ports and is most important because of the transparency it presents to the transactions involved. Our organisation is fully in support of it”.
The Executive Director, Port Operators, ENL Consortium, Mark Walsh said his company would work hard to see that the system function effectively and will give the necessary support needed to NPA.
The General Manager, Greenview Development Nigeria Limited (GDNL), Yakubu Abdullahi, said the essence of SOP and PSSP is a port reform that will improve cargo throughput.
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