By Kenneth Jukpor
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured Port stakeholders of its plans to provide lighting systems, security and other modalities required for 24 hours port operations as stipulated in the recent Executive Directive on Port operations.
The Managing Director of NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman revealed this after a gruesome meeting with the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd) and other port stakeholders in Apapa, Lagos yesterday.
The NPA boss also assured all stakeholders present at the meeting that the agencies at the ports would collaborate to ensure that they worked round the clock towards the swift implementation of this order.
She said, “The essence of this meeting is to discuss ways of harmonizing our operations and resolve challenges to achieving the ease of doing business within our ports”.
Usman also revealed that NPA would set up a virtual platform known as the Port Community System where all stakeholders would utilize in order to streamline operations at the ports.
She recalled that the Executive Order also provided for disciplinary actions on defaulters who would be made to face the full weight of the law concerning these orders.
The agencies streamlined to operate at the Ports according to Hadiza Bala Usman, are the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Ports Health.
She also expressed confidence in the Federal Government ‘s plans to fix the port access roads in a bid to enhance the ease of doing business at the nation’s ports.
Meanwhile the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.), 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”.
Responding to questions on the state of scanners which led the Customs to 100% physical examination of containers, Col. Hameed Ali said that the Federal Government had begun processes to acquire new scanners for the Customs.
He remained optimistic that the problem of scanners would have been resolved before the deadline of the Executive Directive.
The Managing Director of NPA has earlier stressed that, “only authorized personnel that have business in the ports would be allowed in henceforth, this includes officers of government agencies who are off-duty”.