By Eromosele Abiodun
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has reiterated federal government’s commitment to providing enabling environment for relevant stakeholders and other port users to carry out their businesses in line with global best practices.
This, she said, is in line with the Authority’s efforts to reposition the Nigerian ports as a reference point in sub-Saharan Africa.
Usman made the remarks at the 5TH edition of the Women in Logistics And Transport (WILAT) International Conference held at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos with the theme, ‘Effective and Efficient Logistics and Transport, As Key Components of Successful Organisation and Business’.
In her paper, ‘Government Directives on Ease of Doing Business in the Port: Its Challenges and Sustainability,’, the NPA boss stressed that the federal government would put in place machinery to achieve full implementation of the Executive Order in the areas of enabling and conducive environment, Customer Service Delivery to Stakeholders by way of Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) and transparency.
She stated that operational efficiency was pivotal to effective implementation and sustainability of the Executive Order of the federal government as its concerns the sub-sector.
Bala-Usman called on all stakeholders to imbibe the culture of leading by example at all times through the direct supervision of activities assigned to individuals and groups, stressing that it is critical in the area of optimising productivity by way of motivation and mentoring.
The NPA boss noted that there are challenges faced in the sub-sector in the area of security on the Nigerian waters, slow evacuation of Cargo out of the terminals and poor Intermodal system and the dilapidation of the rail lines in the Terminals. She stated that the NPA Management was willing and ready to partner with the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) as a sister agency of the federal government towards the realisation of its policy on Ease of Doing Business.
In her welcome address, the Global Convener of WILAT, Aisha Ali Ibrahim, who doubles as Port Manager, Apapa Port Complex eulogised the numerous contributions of members over the years towards the actualisation of the vision of the international body.
According to her, “WILAT should strive at achieving its core values in the area of strategic employment and social responsibility.”
She charged for greater synergy in sponsoring and training women in the Middle East, whilst promising to make sure that the body’s chapters increase appreciably from 19, up from 12 in 2013 to 18 in 2017.
Bala-Usman had told journalists during the inspection of the rehabilitation of Apapa roads, recently that the federal government was interested in ensuring that the gateway to the nation’s economy-the ports are effectively and efficiently serviced in order to tap into the financial dividends accrueable to the national economy.
According to her, “This would impact most positively in the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She stated that the inspection was part of the NPA’s aggressive strategy to ensuring that all the components required to meet deadlines were achieved.
Similarly, she noted that efforts were being made by the federal government to facilitate express funding of the project, which she stressed, would create a more enabling environment for doing business at the ports on completion, and subsequently attract investment in the sub sector.
The NPA chief stated that the federal government would appreciate swifter operational deployment by the construction company, A G Dangote whilst assuring port users of quality of work.
She added: “Efficiency is key in the NPA management’s operation, thus, all stones would be turned to actualise the reason for the ports roads rehabilitation which basically cascades to the stimulation of the ease of doing business at the ports across the country.”
She noted that the role of Holding Bays in decongesting the traffic gridlock in Apapa is critical, pointing out that a licensing regime on the subject is being perfected between the NPA and the Lagos State Government to enable operators in this regard have access into the ports and function under guided directives.