Minister of Transportation; Mr. Rotimi Amaechi flagged-off the open air launch of the harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) designed to stem corrupt practices and ensure a user-friendly port.
The SOP is a collation of operational procedures of all maritime government agencies, shipping companies, terminal operators, freight forwarders, associations and other stakeholders.
The PSSP on the other hand, is a complaint management portal for operators to lodge complaints if any agency fails to follow the SOP. This is anchored by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Amaechi who was represented at the launch by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms Hadiza Bala Usman noted that this project was a follow-up to the initial launch of the project in Abuja on June 2016.
He said that the SOP and the PSSP are a direct response to a Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) report on Nigerian seaports released in 2013 by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) labelling Nigeria the most corrupt port in the world.Shipping Position Daily recalls that the report had alleged that it takes over 79 signatures of government officials to clear a consignment from Nigeria’s seaports.
The report was the outcome of a four-month corruption assessment study carried out by the ICPC in conjunction with the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption (TUGAR) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Corruption Risk Assessment was carried out at the six ports in Nigeria; Tin Can, Apapa, Warri, Calabar, Onne and Port Harcourt ports.The report however recommended that stakeholders should jointly implement integrity plans to strengthen transparency and accountability towards enhanced service delivery.Addressing the gathering yesterday, the Minister urged all agencies and port stakeholders to associate with the project which according to him, is aimed at providing quality service to members of the public and international community that patronises Nigerian ports.
He said “as the Federal Government seeks ways to leverage on the potentials of the maritime sector to diversify the economy, efforts will be made to support this project especially as it fits into the key objectives of our drive to grow the economy through increase in efficiency, reduction of waste and corrupt practices in the non-oil sectors” he said.In her welcome address, NPA Managing Director; Ms Hadiza Bala Usman noted that the SOP helps to establish operational standards and guide customers on what to expect at the ports and what they need to do to receive good services.
Her address was delivered by Executive Director Marine and Operations; Dr. Sekonte Davies.Usman said “with this launch today, we are certain that unwholesome practices by service providers at the ports will be greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated. It will become easier to detect culprits and defaulters and sanction them””The SOP is a document that captures and clarifies work processes; it serves as a guide to the general public in their dealings with agencies, organisations or companies at port””The PSSP is a central mechanism for service support and pre-emptive resolution of service impediments brought forward by users” she said.