• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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NPA’s readiness to deliver on the ministerial performance bond in 2024

NPA’s readiness to deliver on the ministerial performance bond in 2024

In November 2023, Adegboyega Oyetola, minister of Marine and Blue Economy, signed a performance bond with chief executive officers and directors of agencies under the ministry.

The performance bond, which covers a period of 2023-2027, is a joint commitment to turn around the socio-economic fortune of the newly created Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

As an agency under the ministry, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), signed on behalf of his agency and gave NPA’s commitment to deliver on the agreement of the bond.

Currently, the Nigerian government has been struggling with a decline in revenue due to surging global inflation and other economic headwinds. With this, it has become very obvious that depending on oil revenue is no longer sufficient to run the country, thus the need to diversify.

To harness the potential of the Blue Economy, especially at this time when Nigeria is in huge debt due to dwindling revenue, President Bola Tinubu created the Ministry of Marine & Blue Economy in 2023.

The new ministry, which got Adegboyega Oyetola as its pioneer minister, is focused on positioning Nigeria to tap from the global Blue Economy resources valued at $2.5 trillion and this led to the signing of the performance bond.

Before now, the Bello Koko-led NPA had positioned itself to support the Tinubu administration.

The NPA generated total revenue of N191.43 billion from its operations and remitted N55.712 billion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federation between January and June 2023, according to the NPA 2023 half-year performance report.

Commenting on the report, Bello-Koko described six months of operational statistics as reassuring given the micro and macroeconomic headwinds that affected businesses negatively.

“Given the current global economic upheavals which have affected trade in all climes, our current growth trajectory is encouraging. It gives us the confidence to project revenue growth of over N500 billion with an attendant increase in remittance to CRF by end-of-year 2023.

“The operationalisation of Lekki Deep Seaport, expected restoration of the service boat management contract, digitalisation, and intensified tightening of collections mechanisms buoy our confidence at the meeting and exceeding the revenue projections,” he said then.

To surpass its revenue, the NPA has put modalities in place to create jobs and add value to the national economy through Public Private Partnerships; Ports for Independent Power Production, Bunkering Stations, Fallow Lands for Logistics/Real Estate, Fresh Water Provision, Ship Repairs, and Maintenance and Tourism and Hospitality.

NPA has been paying serious attention to efficient service delivery in the port. A key indicator of port efficiency is the turnaround time of vessels, which stood at 5.16 days within the same period.

Today, there is a significant improvement in truck turnaround time due to the successful implementation and monitoring of the electronic call-up system by the Ports Authority.

This has helped to ensure proper batching of port-bound trucks and reduce the menace of indiscriminate parking of trucks on port roads that used to result in gridlock on port access roads. It also deployed 24 motorcycles to monitor trucks’ compliance with the call-up operation at the Apapa/TCIPC/Ijora axis.

To minimise the breakdown of trucks on port access roads, about 3,000 trucks were inspected, certified, and issued stickers to ensure safety and compliance with ISO certification requirements and Minimum Safety Standards (MSS). This led to a 65 percent reduction in several accidents recorded within the port premises.

In addition, the NPA has ensured that some tugboats are dry-docked locally to save the country the much-needed foreign exchange and increase its fleet of vessels.

To ensure adequate security at the ports, the NPA procured and deployed six Security Patrol Boats to all Pilotage Districts to address incessant attacks of vessels along the channels and at the ports’ waterfronts.

Within the period under review, the NPA enhanced the standard of operational procedures for different activities, completed a bathymetric Survey for the dredging of Escravos Channels, and created Forcados Signal Station to capture the movement of Service Boats.

In the last 10 months, the Ports Authority carried out the survey and mapping of the fairway buoy up to Warri-Sapele-Koko Ports to the prescribed standards of the UKHO Charts, increased container holding capacity at Rivers Port by converting unused space within PTOL Terminal into stacking area.

The NPA has also completed a review of expired concessions while reviewing all available funding options to commence immediate reconstruction of Tin-Can Island Port Complex, Berth 4-14 in Apapa Port Complex, Berth 2 in Onne, Terminal C in Warri and Warri Jetties.

Research has shown that automation and technology can drive port efficiency, this led the Authority to update port systems and the ongoing collaboration with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the development of the Port Community System (PCS) to advance Nigeria’s trade fortunes.

Port Community System, which is expected to lay the foundation for the National Single Window – the global benchmark of port efficiency, is a sector-specific automated system that eases information exchange between all parties that have activities related to the seaports.

Although the PCS by its operational dynamics requires multi-agency actions, which are time-consuming, the NPA as Nigeria’s foremost trade facilitation platform, has through advocacy and collaborations fast-tracked the process and as of date completed the second phase of the consultancy under the technical guidance of the IMO.

To enthrone transparency and eliminate opacity, the authority has also completed the automation of port-ship reception and billing payment with the Revenue invoicing and management system (RIMS), deployed electronic manifest and Ship Entry Notice (ESEN), operates Oracle Financials and Oracle HR and is on track to procure software for harbour automation.

Determined to ensure Domain Awareness Capability that will guide and provide 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 Ship Management Ltd (NSML) for the deployment of Vessel Traffic Service which is at its conclusive stage.

It is said that port sustainability is dependent on quality infrastructure and equipment. While awaiting the necessary approvals for the funding of the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Island Ports Complex and rehabilitation of challenged aspects of all port locations, the current management team has acquired marine crafts such as the recently commissioned two units of Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) 8213 model 80 Ton Bollard Pull Tugboats to enable the berthing of very large vessels of 300 meters LOA and has refurbished the Control Towers for Lagos and Tin-Can Island Port Complexes as well as completion of the road network for the integration of Berth 9,10, &11 at Federal Ocean Terminal, Onne Port.

These have placed the Ports Authority on a sound footing to guarantee its growth, competitiveness, and future readiness to maximise the opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

In 2024, NPA has set aside deliverables geared towards actualising its bonds. The NPA is sourcing low-cost funds to fully modernise its existing port infrastructure to allow the port to accommodate modern cargo handling equipment, reduce vessel turn-around time, improve the berth occupancy factor, and increase competitiveness.

“Our effort to fully automate port operations is now coming to fruition. In the first quarter of 2024, we will complete the launch of an upgraded version of the Revenue Invoice Management System, RIMS 2.0, to address the shortfalls of the earlier version.

“The Port Community System, which is supported by the IMO, will also go live this year to streamline port operations and improve data exchange and Port efficiency. The effort to deploy VTS and harbour automation that is necessary to ensure security and safe navigation has reached an advanced stage and will be deployed this year,” Bello-Koko said in his New Year message.

He said the National Ports Master plan will also come into effect by June this year to guide its investment and expansion plans.