Stakeholders in the maritime sector including the Licensed Customs Agents have commended the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), for the improvement in the ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports.
According to them, Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director of the NPA, has put mechanisms in place to ensure the improvement of traffic in the port access road, which had virtually rendered activity at the Lagos ports comatose in the past.
In addition to an increased ease of doing business, the NPA has enabled trade facilitation and the creation of thousand of jobs through effective barge operation
Akinwale James, an importer, said that the ease at which exporters move export into the port has improved tremendously with the introduction and the licensing of 10 Export Processing Terminals (EPT) to facilitate seamless export cargo out of the nation’s seaports.
“Licensing of 10 Export Processing Terminals to facilitate exports at Nigerian ports is to provide a one-stop shop for export where quality control, cargo assessment by all government agencies and issuance of good-to-ship clearance will be obtained. This has led to a significant reduction in truck turn-around time due to successful implementation of the E-Call Up System,” James said.
Visits to Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar also showed massive improvement in infrastructure and orderliness as against what was obtainable at the ports a few years ago.
Recall that the NPA increased remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) of the Federal Government from N80 billion to N91 billion in the last one year.
The increase in remittance is coming amid low importation into the country and dwindling revenue generation by some agencies of government.
BusinessDay understands that the increment was made possible by tapping from Bello-Koko’s private sector background, employed to get port managers deliver on the Federal Government’s mandate of increased revenue.
In terms of revenue, the NPA revenue has increased from N317 billion in 2020 to N361billion in 2022, thereby, supporting the federal government in meeting its obligation to Nigerians.
“The NPA has supported the national economy through unprecedented revenue generation and remittances to CRF of the federation with revenues steadily growing from N317 billion in 2020 to N361billion in 2022 and remittances progressively soaring from 80 Billion in 2020 to 91Billion by financial year end 2022,” confirmed an official of the NPA, who pleaded anonymity.
According to him, the NPA created new businesses and attendant job opportunities such as the barge operations services which apart from reducing pressure on the roads has grown into a N2 billion annual generation business both from direct investment and accompanying externalities.
He said the authority has also licensed additional truck parks to increase capacity of truck parks servicing the Lagos ports.
Findings show that the enforcement of the Minimum Safety Standards on trucks accessing the ports by the current management of the NPA has led to 65 percent reduction in number of accidents recorded at the port corridor.
“Enforcement of Minimum Safety Standards on trucks which stipulates that all trucks accessing the ports are inspected, certified and issued stickers to assure safety. This has resulted to about 65 percent reduction in number of accidents recorded, arising from improved standards of trucks operating within the port premises,” said Chukwuka Ayam, a clearing agent.
The NPA has also engaged the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to enable the development of Port Community System on the automation and digitalisation of the port processes.
“Other areas of improvement include award of consultancy for the deployment of Vessel Traffic Service (VTS); a maritime safety measure that equips with Domain Awareness Capability to enable us guide and provide safety information to vessels within our channels and ports approaches in line with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) conventions,” the NPA official said.
Bello-Koko, was appointed acting managing director of the NPA on May 6, 2021 and was confirmed as a substantive MD on February 21, 2022.