The Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar has stressed the need for all government agencies in the maritime sector to carry out joint inspection of vessels at the ports in order to fully actualize the Ease of Doing Business Programme (EDBP) initiative of the Federal Government.
Abubakar who made this known when he led a joint team from the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the ICPC on a courtesy visit to NIMASA noted that it will aid the turn-around-time of vessels calling at our ports and also bring about efficiency.
The ICPC boss who was represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment in the commission, Mrs. Rashidat Okoduwa, stated that activities in the ports will no longer be business as usual for operators and others who are yet to comply with the EDBP initiative, hence the reason they are seeking partnership with NIMASA and other agencies to join in the resolve to ensure a business friendly and conducive maritime sector in Nigeria.
While welcoming the delegation, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that transparency and integrity are crucial elements that must be put in place in order to realize a robust maritime sector in line with the EDBP of the Federal Government.
“We must be conscious of our international image because people who do business in our ports have alternatives. We must strive to make our ports user friendly and competitive; to achieve this, we need the support of all Stakeholders in the maritime sector”, Petersidesaid.
He stated that the agency has fully keyed into the EDBP and will continue to partner other relevant government bodies in the ports in order to fully realize the essence, which is geared towards making the nation’s ports competitive.
He explained that the initiative will in turn bring about more employment opportunities and also generate more revenues to add to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Peterside called for sanctions to erring port operatives, stating that it will serve as deterrent to others.
“Where there are no consequences for offences, people will continue to err. Therefore the need to make people face the consequences for their actions or inactions is not negotiable”, he said.
He noted that the agency has reviewed its standards operational procedures (SOP) manual and made the operational departments sign a service level agreement whereby boarding any vessel and other transactions will be done in record time, with a view to reducing delay in turn-around-time of vessels and to enhance trade facilitation.
He explained that this was meant to ensure full compliance to the Federal Government’s EDBP.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services of the NSC, Mr. Samuel Vongtau appealed for more collaborative efforts by all the various agencies in the ports in order to realize an economically viable maritime sector in Nigeria.
The Federal Government’s EDBP is geared towards ensuring faster processes and procedures in ports activities in the country, whereby vessels calling at the nation’s ports get good time value for their businesses, thereby allowing for an improved turn-around-time in all forms of port transactions.
To achieve this, all agencies in the ports are expected to collaborate and ensure seamless transactions in line with global best practices.