Stakeholders Seek Reforms in Maritime Sector

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Oluchi Chibuzor

Stakeholders in the maritime industry have advocated for a review of the business processes of both government and private entities operating within the Nigerian maritime sector.

This, according to them, would ensure compliance to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and improve efficiency and service delivery.

The Chief Executive Officer, The Convention on Business Integrity, Mr. Soji Apampa, disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, at a round table discussion, in collaboration with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN).

The theme of the forum was: “Towards Standard Operating Procedures That Work in Nigeria’s Sea Ports & Terminals.”

According to Apampa, reforming operations in the maritime sector would help reduce obstacles hindering Ease of Doing Business and eliminate bottlenecks that encourages corrupt tendencies.

He said there were structures presently to facilitate compliance of SOPs and ensure training of people at various business organisations operating in and within the port environment.

“There is also the need to further engage with ports/terminal authorities and officials/Officers on the need to smoothen ports/terminals processes and operations and possible consequences (positive and disciplinary) of their actions now and the future.

“The SOPS as launch by the Vice president are to make business processes in port more efficient in service delivery, so all port users must review their processes to comply with the SOPs, as this would enhance accountability,” he said.

But speaking from the government agencies’ perspective, the Deputy Comptroller Enforcement, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Lagos, Dera Nnadi said: “What we are going to do is to improve on our variable facilities and as much as possible to automate processes and improve much on human capacity, that is basically what we would do, but then we need to improve the infrastructures in the other ports in the country and eliminate all those areas that we think are not necessary; that way we would achieve a lot in service delivery.

“We have enjoyed great synergy with other government agencies in the country in terms of collaboration working as a team because” he noted.

On his part, the Head of Collective Action and Partnerships (EMEA), Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), Vivek Menon, said key message from the event was that Nigeria in terms of port operations want more than port compliance, “as there are lots of systems to allow people engage further with Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and make it a better place to ensure there is transparency, fair trade in the country.

“The government have already put in place the Ease of Doing Business procedure and not just in concept, but are also working very hard to put it into play with various agencies in involved,” he said.

The Chief Superintendent of Quarantine, MMIA Command, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, Mr. Ogundele Oluwashina, stressed the need to urgently reintroduce the service of his agency at various entry point in the country, saying the nation was losing a lot because of lack of effective certification of various agricultural produce.