NPA committee wants NIMASA, others to reduce personnel boarding ships

Funso Olojo || An inter-agency and port stakeholders committee on the implementation of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s Executive Order on port operation has recommended that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) reviews the number of its personnel boarding vessels for Port State Control as a way of reducing delays of vessel.

The committee also recommended the reduction in the number of other government officials that board vessels calling at the port and elimination of delays caused by the officials before the commencement of ship discharging activities.

The affected officials are those of the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Port Health Services, Nigeria Immigration Service and NIMASA.

The recommendation is contained in a report of the committee.

The committee asked the Federal Government to prevail on government agencies operating at the port to develop electronic database of their operations as a means of checking touting and other illegal activities.

The committee also recommended the elimination of multiple checks usually carried out on imported cargoes by Customs and other government officials as well as the streamlining of cargo clearing processes such that the processes will terminate inside the port terminal.

Recommendations of the committee also include the introduction of new port passes and electronic access control; regulation of human movement at the port; issuance of identity cards with biometric information of port workers and port users; coordination of joint security patrol by security officials and the creation of jurisdictional boundaries at the ports.

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Other recommendations are the handling of export cargo consolidation outside the port premises; cessation of export operation at the main port gate; uniform export procedure across Customs commands and the relocation of government officials from the port gate to terminals inside the port.

The committee was set up on June 9 by Usman to draw up guidelines towards compliance with the Acting President’s Executive Order issued in May. The EO aims to create efficiency in cargo clearance and enhance 24 hours port operation.

The 27-member committee, chaired by the General Manager, Western Ports of NPA, Arc. Abiodun Gbadamosi noted that automation of port processes is the panacea to corruption at the port.

Meanwhile, the management of NPA has called on stakeholders in the maritime sub-sector to collaborate amongst each other with the view to sustaining the Presidential Order on Port Operations.

Similarly, it has also put in place effective machinery to comprehensively review the progress and challenges associated with the strive to ensure broad actualization of the executive order.

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These were part of the contents of the Managing Director of NPA Hadiza Bala Usman’s statement during an inter-agency interactive session on the subject at the corporate headquarters of the organization Marina Lagos.

She enjoined agencies in the maritime sub-sector to make information sharing a pivotal part of activities whilst collaborating with each other.

According to her “there is need to improve efficiency. We need to work hand in hand together, we have to improve efficiency of our ports. We need to work united as a team towards success across the industry. It is about the greatness of our dear country Nigeria”.

“Let us work together to make our ports competitive in the sector and in the sub-region”.

Furthermore, she called on all and sundry to be up and doing so the road to total adherence to the tenets of the Executive Order on Port Operations would be devoid of encumbrances.

She later presented the joint stakeholder’s committee report on the implementation of the Executive Order on Port Operations through the window of “ease of doing business” on the nation’s seaports.