NPA bites harder, streamlines ports operations

Container stacking area at the port.

It is definitely no longer business as usual at the nation’s ports as the Nigerian Ports Authority’s (NPA) begins strict measures to streamline operations and ensure single interface examination point for cargoes at all ports across the country.

The implementation of the Executive Order 22 would tactically keep the evicted government agencies out of ports premises and promote easy clearance of cargoes.

Some of the affected agencies such as the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), have been very reluctant to leave the ports few weeks after the order was made, but The Guardian gathered that the agencies have
moved out as at Monday, and only surface when their services are required.

To further streamline the operations, the Managing Director of NPA Hadiza Bala Usman, said after a meeting on the Executive Order that “Every agency will develop their backend office operations to streamline what they require to support any historical structure they may have, but no agency should operate outside that interface at any of our port terminals.

“All agencies of government that are not domiciled in the ports but are required to provide services should liaise with the lead agency on the modalities to perform their operations when they are required.

“For record purposes, only Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Customs and Excise, Nigerian Immigration Service, Department of State Services (DSS), Port Health, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Police, which were part of the presidential approval in 2011 are permitted to domicile within the ports. All other agencies must come in only when they are required,” she said.

This directive, according to her, is in conformity with Executive Order 22. With the take-off of this policy, all agencies of government that are required to operate and domicile in the ports, would embark on their activities in the designated locations only.

“There will be no other form of examination outside of that single interface,” she emphasized.

In a related development Usman had earlier noted that Apapa Port has all agencies in place to ensure that the Port runs for 24 hours operations.

The NPA boss had sneaked into the ports at night to examine the level of compliance with the Executive Order, but now putting all mercenaries in place to ensure that ease of doing business is actually felt at the nation’s gateway.

Usman said freight forwarders have raised security concerns about receiving their consignments at night, and NPA has brought this to the notice of the Port Police Command who are already working on handling the situation.

On the ports access roads, she said: “The rehabilitation of Apapa Access Roads would be done in segments, and we have earmarked on alternative routes during the period of the job. It should be recalled that this repairs is being done in partnership with the Dangote Group, the Flour Mills and NPA. It is a critical infrastructure that is important to the business of the Port industry”.

Usman stated that a change in policy that seek to improve government revenue and encourage efficiency, bring about a reduction in cost and encourage level playing field for investors should be encouraged at all times.

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