NPA Managing Director, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has called for a level of independence in the discharge of its statutory roles and responsibilities.
It said a measure of autonomy for the Authority in the Ports and Harbours Bill presently before the National Assembly will enable it achieve its set goals and objectives.
The authority said it would be in a better place to discharge its mandate effectively and efficiently if given a level of autonomy in the bill presently before the legislators.
NPA Managing Director, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi, made the appeal while receiving members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport led by its Chairman, Senator Zainab Kure, who were in NPA House, the corporate headquarters, Marina, Lagos as part of their oversight functions.
Abdullahi’s words: “No port in the world can exist and prosper without a measure of independence, and therefore autonomy is strategic and required to ensure efficiency in line with international best practices.”
The NPA helmsman told the committee that the authority has made tremendous progress since its visit last year, stating that vessels’ waiting time is now 19 days instead of 28 days and that the channels have been dredged to the required standard.
He also informed members of the committee that many foreign investors have indicated interest in ports development in Nigeria. This came to light during the recent visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to New York, explaining that this was an indication of the international recognition of the nation’s maritime potentials.
Members of the committee inspected the ongoing rehabilitation projects at NPA House, the Marina Jetty, the completed East and West Moles rehabilitation, Quay Wall reconstruction in Tin Can Island Port, ongoing access road construction and rail line rehabilitation in Apapa ports, Lagos.
At the Marina Jetty, Kure called on NPA to reconstruct the jetty and enjoined contractors handling various projects in the ports to expedite action and complete the projects according to specifications.
“We still have some issues we have to sort out with ourselves. If I am to compare what we did last year and what we saw last year with what we are seeing this year, I think there is progress. The authority did not disappoint as far as what was appropriated is concerned because sometimes you appropriate and you come to a place and it still remains the way you left it. So NPA is not doing badly but there are areas we need to sit down and sort out”, she said.
Other members of the committee on the visit were Senators Pius Ewerido, Joshua Dariye, Kabiru Gaya, Sadiq Yar’Adua, Oluremi Tinubu and Benedict Ayade.
Other top officers of the authority who conducted the committee round the ports include Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Mr. David Omonibeke, the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Mallam Mohammed Sanni Saleh, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr. Olumide Oduntan and some General Managers.