Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Mohammed Bello Koko has called for a reduction in the number of government agencies in the nation’s seaports to just four.
Koko made this suggestion last week while speaking at a retreat between the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and the Chief Executives of agencies in the ministry.
While highlighting some critical areas that would elevate the nation’s seaports to a competitive level among their peers, the NPA boss said he was “proposing a policy and enforcement measures to reduce the number of agencies operating in the port to a maximum of four”
This is even as he stressed the need to devote attention to NPA’s ambitious port modernization programme. He however did not disclose the identities of agencies that may have to leave the ports.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that, under the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, NPA expelled seven of the 14 agencies at the nation’s sea ports, in a bid to start the implementation of the new executive order to enhance the ease of doing business in sectors across the economy.
The Ministry, led by its Minister; Mr Adegboyega Oyetola had set targets for the agencies, a development which culminated in the signing of a Performance Bond spanning between 2023 and 2027.
But the NPA Managing Director highlighted to the Minister that there are some priority projects to be embarked upon with timelines to enable it to compete with other ports in the region.
He singled out the various projects that are ongoing in some ports. “Of great importance is our ambitious port modernization programme to fully rehabilitate decaying port infrastructure at TinCan, Apapa, Rivers, Onne, and Delta Ports within the next four years”.
He added that, actualizing these modernization projects “will enable us improve our cargo handling equipment and reduce cargo turnaround time”.
In his words: “To open up new vistas of opportunities, we also considered the possibilities of concluding new port developments in Badagry, Ibom, Ondo, and Bonny within the shortest possible timeframe”
“For us to achieve these, we also looked at some critical enablers for trade facilitation. Though some enablers are interdependent on other agencies of government, such as Customs, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Federal Ministry of Works, we need to build a strong collaboration between these agencies”.
Broadly, we are strengthening blue governance and transforming port operations with the implementation of the National Single Window, Port Community System, International Cargo Tracking Note, and Vessel Tracking System, while also transforming the sustainability of blue economy investments.