The Federal Government has urged stakeholders in the maritime industry to institutionalize operational efficiency through compliance function within the port agencies.
Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, made the call yesterday in Abuja during a round table discussion with the theme : “A Maritime Sector Fit for Purpose”
According to the Minister, “sustaining the momentum and gains achieved in ports administration will greatly depend on institutionalizing a system where the operational gains are protected. Such a system demands a robust compliance function to ensure that the Maritime sector remains fit- for purpose”.
He called on the Round Table to “explore various other ways by which a stringer compliance function through sanction-based compliance (negative incentives) and reward-based compliance (positive incentives) can be achieved. “
Speaking further Amaechi said that institutionalizing the reforms will strategically position the country to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and the “Blue Economy, thus “reclaiming its pride of place among West Africa’s Maritime States”.
The Minister recounted the significant milestones the sector achieved under his watch to include: amplification of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Grievance Reporting Mechanism and the formation of a Port Standard Task Team (PSTT) ‘ which has since its creation carried out sting operations in cases of compliance failures by staff of port agencies.”
Amaechi noted that “despite these successes, challenges of ports administration are still enormous and these include: excessive delays in import and export processes, red tape, rent seeking and corrupt demands, human and vehicular congestion in and around the ports and illegal charges leading to high costs of business operations.”
While calling on institutional leaders and key decision makers of government agencies to provide the support and political will needed to drive the policy, he enjoined personnel of respective port agencies to act with integrity and adhere to applicable laws, regulations and internal policies in the discharge of their responsibility to port users.
Also speakinthe Executive Secretary, Nigeriang, Shippers’Council, NSC, Emmanuel Jime, advised the Federal Government to diversify into other non- oil sector like the maritime which has been identified as having enormous potential capable of advancing the growth and development of thecountry’s economic in a very short term.
“According to available satistics the country’s maritime sector can as well generate an estimated sum of N7 trillion revenue annually and can create additional 4million jobs in the next five years if properly tapped, particularly with game changers like the Blue Economy and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA),” Jime said.
However, he pointed out that for that to happen, the Federal Government needs to fix the infrastructure decay, the unfavorable port cost and the inefficiencies of port processes.
Continuing, Jime said: “Industry Stakeholders and government agencies such as Nigerian Shippers’Council, Nigerian Customs Service, Ports Authority, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and others have vital roles to play for the sector to optimally perform and realize its full potential.”
Agencies presents at the occasion were: Nigerian Customs Service, Council for the Regulation of Frieght Forwarding in Nigeria, Nigerian Ports Authority, Ports standing Task Team, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders amongst others.
D, Press & PR
April 1, 2022