The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) under its current management has been bullish in revenue collection and contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government since 2021.
Led by Mohammed Bello-Koko as managing director, the Ports Authority has in addition to improving the operational performance of the port, tightened revenue collection mechanisms, blocked leakages and increased debt recovery mechanisms.
NPA’s revenue grew from N317 billion in 2020 to N333.5 billion in 2021 and increased to N361 billion in 2022.
In terms of remittances, it also grew its contribution to the Federal coffers from N80 billion in 2020 to N89.9 billion in 2021 and N93.4 billion in 2022, with plans to surpass last year’s target in 2023 as it has already remitted about N90 billion for January to August 2023.
BusinessDay understands that plans are in motion to open up alternative revenue sources in order to surpass its present revenue profile.
The Bello-Koko-led management of NPA is looking at involving public-private partnerships in areas like ports independent power generation, bunkering stations, developing fallow lands for logistics and real estate, freshwater provision, ship repairs and maintenance as well as tourism and hospitality.
This, according to Bello-Koko, is in line with the drive of Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of the Marine and Blue Economy.
Aside from revenue, NPA is also investing in the facilitation of import and export trade at the port. It came up with strategies that reduce bottlenecks at ports, enhance ease of doing business and reduce costs for port users.
One such strategy was the licensing of 10 Export Processing Terminals (EPTs) in Lagos and Ogun states. This was aimed at enhancing the nation’s balance of trade, earning scarce dollars and also strengthening the value of the naira.
The idea of export terminals was to eliminate all procedural bottlenecks that hitherto made Nigerian exports uncompetitive in the international marketplace.
“The terminal is serving as a one-stop shop for export where quality control, cargo assessment by all government agencies, and issuance of good-to-ship clearance is obtained,” said James Akinwale, an importer.
The Authority under its present management also provided the technical guidance and fast-tracked the approval processes responsible for the commencement of operations of Lekki Deep Seaport, Nigeria’s first deep seaport.
Completion of Lekki Port, no doubt, laid the groundwork for the recent approval of Badagry Deep Seaport, Ondo Deep Seaport, Snake Island and Koko Port in Delta State by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
To drive port efficiency, the NPA in collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is currently developing a Port Community System (PCS) to automate port processes.
The Port Community System, if completed, is expected to lay the foundation for the much-awaited National Single Window, an automated system that eases information exchange between all parties that have activities relating to the seaports.
The coming on board of the Port Community System requires multi-agency actions, which have been time-consuming, but NPA as Nigeria’s foremost trade facilitation platform, has through advocacy and collaborations, been fast-tracking the process. As of date, it has completed the second phase of the consultancy under the technical guidance of the IMO.
To enthrone transparency, NPA has also completed the automation of ship reception and billing payment with the revenue invoicing and management system (RIMS), deployed the electronic manifest and ship entry notice (ESEN), and currently operates Oracle Financials and Oracle HR with plans to procure software for harbour automation and strengthen Radio Signal Stations.
To enhance its Domain Awareness Capability, which guides and provides safety information to vessels within its channels and ports approaches in line with the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS) convention, the current management partnered with the NLNG Shipping and Marine Services Ltd (NSML) for the deployment of Vessel Traffic Service which is at its conclusive stage.
Also, the NPA deployed an electronic call-up system for trucks, which has helped to significantly reduce the protracted traffic congestion within the Apapa Port corridor and improve truck turnaround time.
Infrastructure and equipment
Meanwhile, as it awaits the necessary approvals for obtaining funding for the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Island Ports Complex and rehabilitation of the challenged portions of all port locations, the current management of NPA has in recent times undertaken some commendable steps in upgrading port infrastructure and equipment.
Recently, it acquired first-of-its-kind in Africa marine crafts such as the recently commissioned two units of 80-ton Bollard Pull Tugboats to enable the berthing of very large vessels of 300 metres in length overall and above at Lekki Port.
It also overhauled the control towers for Lagos and Tin-Can Island Port Complexes and procured security patrol boats across all port locations leading to enhanced channel security and a reduction in attacks on vessels along the channels and at ports’ waterfronts which has resulted in unprecedented cargo traffic in the Eastern Ports especially Onne Port Complex.
It also acquired more harbour crafts including pilot cutters to eliminate delays associated with berthing and sailing of vessels and improve efficiency at the ports.
In addition, it acquired and installed navigational aids and buoys for Warri and Calabar Pilotage Districts for proper channel marking and route mapping.
NPA has also overseen the completion of the road network for the integration of Berth 9,10, &11 at Federal Ocean Terminal in Onne Port; and installed marine fenders to boost the overall integrity of the quay facilities and prevent accidents arising from direct vessel impact on the quay wall.
It has also completed consultancy services for the shore protection and rehabilitation of the Escravos breakwaters, and survey and mapping of the Warri Pilotage District from Fairway Buoy-Warri-Sapele up to Koko Port to the prescribed standards of the UKHO Charts.
Within the period under review, NPA secured the necessary approvals for the increase in salary of its employees, which had stagnated for over 15 years.
Last year, the authority reconstructed the dockyard training school, expanded the bridge simulator at the Port Training Institute and equipped it to international certification standards making it unattractive to send employees for overseas training, thereby saving the country foreign exchange spent on foreign training.
It has sustained engagements with the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations & Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), Maritime Workers Union (MWUN) and other ancillary sector unions which have resulted in industrial harmony and reduction in the level of downtooling by labour.
It recently completed the reconstruction and equipping of the Mission to Seafarers (MTS) facility in Lagos, transforming it into the best-of-its-kind in the region, which is a boost for Nigeria’s port rating.
Beyond these, NPA successfully enforced the stevedoring regulations, which in addition to deepening professionalism and adherence to global best practices in the maritime sector, created jobs and revenue for International Oil Companies (IOCs).
It also licensed additional truck parks to increase the capacity of truck parks servicing Lagos Ports.
The Ports Authority came up with a transformational strategy that focuses on the enforcement of Minimum Safety Standards on trucks by ensuring that trucks accessing the ports are inspected, certified, and issued safety assurance identification.
Tony Anakebe, a licensed Customs agent said the policy is helping to reduce the number of truck-related accidents on Nigerian roads.
In addition, NPA has carried out reforms that have transformed port operations by raising the operational standards of barging, private jetties, pilotage services and vessel berthing and sailing at the port.
In confirmation of the authority’s performances, the Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in its 2023 evaluation of government agencies adjudged the NPA as a level 5 ‘Platinum Level’ organisation for providing an enabling environment for delivering high-quality work in all essential areas of responsibility.