The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, has reiterated the organisation’s commitment to the elimination of systemic corruption and other criminal practices at the nation’s seaports.
He has equally affirmed NPA’s position to operate in compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as stipulated in the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM), a project it funded, to enhance operational excellence and service delivery at all Nigerian seaports and terminals.
The NPA helmsman made these remarks recently when he received members of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) led by Soji Apampa, at the authority’s head-office in Marina, Lagos.
Koko stated that the NPA management appreciates the positive being played by the network in partnership with key sister agencies and organisations to create a more friendly 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.
He expressed delight that the anti-corruption reforms introduced by the Buhari led Federal Government has significantly reduced corrupt and related criminal practices in the Nigerian port and 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 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 said.
Koko said that having achieved and addressed the bottleneck with sailing and berthing of vessels, attention is now being shifted to cargo clearance at the port and ways of boosting the global competitiveness of the country’s exports.
He elaborated that concerted action is needed in order to make cargo clearance simpler, faster and market friendly.
Leader of the MACN team, Soji Apampa, explained that the purpose of the visit was to intimate NPA management about the achievements recorded, in collaboration with other key stakeholders, to engender zero tolerance to corruption at the port as well as remove opaqueness in port operations in line with international best practice.
He said the Nigerian port ecosystem has witnessed 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 said.
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