Stakeholders Hail Reappointment of Bala-Usman as NPA MD

Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Abiodun Eromosele in Lagos

Stakeholders in the maritime industry have hailed the reappointment of Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) by President Muhammadu Buhari for a second and final five-year tenure.

A statement yesterday by Buhari’s media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president also approved the reconstitution of the non-executive board of the NPA, with Mr. Emmanuel Adesoye (from South-west) as chairman.

Other members of the board are Prince Ekenyem Nwafor-Orizu (South-east), Mr. Akinwunmi Ricketts (South-south), Mr. Ghazali Mijinyawa (North-east), Mr. Mustapha Dutse (North-west) and Mr. Abdulwahab Adesina (North-central).
Buhari also approved board members for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), who will oversee the selection of a new managing director for the organisation.

They are Mr. Muhammad Ahmad (chairman), Chief Henry Okolo, Mr. Imamudden Talba, Ambassador Usman Sarki, Mr. Ali Haruna, Mr. Simeone Atakulu, Mr. Zubaida Rasheed, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi, Mr. Oladele Amoda, and Dr. Nkiru Balonwu.
Meanwhile, stakeholders, yesterday welcomed the renewal of Bala-Usman’s appointment and urged her to continue her reforms.

While commending Buhari for her reappointment, they called on her to build port infrastructure and make the ports more responsive and competitive.
In an interview with THISDAY, the President of Shipowners’ Forum, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, called on the NPA boss to consolidate on her good work and also empower women and groom people to sustain her legacy.

“She has set a huge standard in the industry and one other thing is that she is ready to learn as well as share her time. “What is important is to groom and mentor the younger one and people that will take over from her when she lives.
“Also, she should ensure in this new term, she opened the eastern portal end congestion in the seaport as well as the traffic gridlock, which has been another challenge in the last few years.

“She should ensure she achieves the call-up system because that is long overdue. The jetties and quay apron needed to be rehabilitated because they are collapsing. “She also needs to ensure that infrastructure that will attract investment to the sector are rehabilitated and constructed,” she said.

On his part, President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), the umbrella body of customs agents in Nigeria, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, applauded the reappointment and called on the NPA boss to focus on her reforms to make the ports better.

He urged her to ensure that NPA as a service provider focuses on the technical aspect of port operations.
“She has done well and deserves commendation but we have a lot of problems that are militating against the port industry, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA); the AfCFTA has commenced; how are our ports going to fare? We want her to do more to make the port active and responsive because what we have now is too expensive.

“For now, the NPA does not have a defined role because when you look at the three components of the port, regulations, port operations, and landlord, they are supposed to be technical operators.
“They should focus on building the port in her new tenure. We are losing our cargo; the port access roads are not in good shape.

“She must focus on trying to build a new port system and focus on the technical aspect like dredging. They are providers of services so they should focus on providing the services to make the port better,” he said.

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