The Managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, on Wednesday said that the only agencies of government approved to operate at the ports include the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); the Nigeria Police; the Department of State Security (DSS); the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Port Health.
The agencies which are expected to leave the port include the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON); Port Quarantine Services, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Hadiza Bala Usman who was accompanied by the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) made the statement during a stakeholders meeting held at the Conference Room of the Western Ports, Apapa, Lagos.
Hadiza pointed out that the Executive Order approved by the government recently is targeted at improving efficient port operations which would be critically enforced to the latter through the harmonization of operational ideas and views by the relevant agencies.
The Executive Order according to her, would ensure that unauthorized personnel in the Ports are refused access thereby reducing human traffic. Stringent measures would be put in place to reduce corrupt practices that could hamper greater efficient operation across the Ports. It would also prioritize the exportation of agricultural produce and mineral resources at the ports by creating dedicated terminals for this purpose. This Order is to be actualized within 30 days of its issuance.
The NPA helmsperson assured all stakeholders that the approved agencies would work round the clock towards the swift implementation of this order. She said, “we intend to discuss on ways of harmonizing our operational bases and challenges to achieving the ease of doing business within our ports”, whilst calling on all and sundry to collaborate most efficiently as the gateway to the nation’s conomy needs to be appropriately serviced.
Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), in his remarks reiterated the importance of the Executive Order as a strategy towards the change process put in place by the Government towards the improved operational efficiency in our Ports.
He stated that, “the Order would allow for the reduction in the time of transaction by our customers through the elimination of bureaucracy and various bottle necks prevalent presently in our ports”.
Ali added that the Executive Order would also ensure that port users are protected from unnecessary expenditure, adding that “we need to join hands to achieve this mandate and ensure that we do not lengthen the period of doing business at the Ports unnecessarily”.