The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should not be solely blamed for lapses in cargo clearance at the nation’s seaport, Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman has said.
Bala Usman said: “It takes more than NPA to see cargo out of the ports,” adding that the greatest challenge is to have agencies that are directly involved in cargo clearance play their respective roles seamlessly.
She said: “The challenge is to get all agencies come under the Single Window which NPA is under-taking.”
The NPA boss, made the assertions while delivering a lecture entitled: “Driving the Change Agenda through Freight Forwarding,” as part of activities to mark the 68th birthday of Prince Olayiwola Shittu, former President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANCLA).
Bala Usman also called on clearing agents in the nation’s Maritime industry to embrace change agenda of the Federal Government through improvement in terms of organization, capacity building that will enable them practice their profession in line with international best practices.
According to her, freight forwarders must play an effective role in Ports operations, adding that the change agenda of the Federal Government makes it imperative for all Stakeholders in the Maritime sector to be part of.
She disclosed that the NPA has taken some steps aimed at improving Freight Forwarding in Nigeria in tandem with the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and meeting the expectations of the World Bank on Trade facilitation.
These steps include the launching of the provisional, final billing and customer portal module of Revenue Invoice Management System aimed at improving service delivery, partner relationship, create efficient payment method, maximize revenue and eradicate loss and revenue leakage.
Other steps include the establishment of a Committee in collaboration with Nigerian Navy to address Apapa gridlock, Call Up system for trucks with shipping companies and achieve collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to introduce the much awaited Single Window Platform and the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committees chaired by the Managing Director of NPA and co-chaired by the managing director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC)
Speaking on the role of the Ports in the Landlord Model, she explained that overtime there has been misconceptions about the role of the Authority in Port Industry.
She said: “I wish to state that in the current concession regime, cargo operation has been ceded to terminal operators while the residual part of port operations still reside with the Port Authority.
“These include pilotage, security, fire service and maintenance of common user areas. Since cargo handling has been ceded to the terminal operators, Freight Forwarders will find themselves interfacing with each other to clear goods.”