Barge Operation: How NPA Created Jobs, Enhanced Ease of Doing Business at Seaports

Eromosele Abiodun

Stakeholders in the maritime sector and licensed customs agents have applauded the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko for the massive improvement in the ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports.

Some critical stakeholders who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed delight at the improvement in traffic in the port access road virtually rendered activity at the Lagos ports comatose before Bello-Koko’s reforms.

Visits to Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar also showed massive improvement in infrastructure and orderliness as against what was obtainable at the ports a few years ago.

They therefore applauded the NPA for increased ease of doing business, trade facilitation and the creation of several thousand of jobs through effective barge operation 

This as the NPA has increased remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Account (CRA) of the federal government from N80 billion to N91 billion in the last one year.

The increase in remittance is coming amidst low Importation into the country and dwindling revenue generation by some agencies of government.

The increment it was learn, was made possible because of Bello-Koko’s private sector background, which he employed to get port managers deliver on the federal government’s mandate of increased revenue due to the lure in the oil and gas sector.

Bello-Koko, was appointed acting Managing Director of the NPA on May 6, 2021 and was confirmed substantive on February 21, 2022.

Moreover, the NPA revenue has risen from N317 billion in 2020 to N361billion in 2022, thereby, supporting the federal government in meeting its obligation to Nigerians.

“The NPA has supported the national economy through unprecedented revenue generation and remittances to CRF of the federation with revenues steadily growing from N317 billion in 2020 to N361billion in 2022 and remittances progressively soaring from 80 Billion in 2020 to 91Billion by financial year end 2022.

“The NPA created new businesses and attendant job opportunities such as the barge operations services which apart from reducing pressure on the roads has grown into a N2 billion annual generation business both from direct investment and accompanying externalities. Licensing of additional truck parks to increase capacity of truck parks servicing the Lagos Ports, “said an official of the NPA

As part of his measure to improve ease of doing business at the ports, the Bello-Koko recently approved the licensing of 10 Export Processing Terminals (EPT) to facilitate seamless export cargo out of the nation’s seaports.

“Licensing of 10 Export Processing Terminals to facilitate exports at Nigerian Sea Ports is to provide a one-stop shop for export where quality control, cargo assessment by all government agencies and issuance of good-to-ship clearance will be obtained. This has led to a significant reduction in truck turn-around time due to successful implementation of the E-Call Up System, “an importer, Akinwale James told newsmen. 

THISDAY investigation revealed that the enforcement of the Minimum Safety Standards on trucks accessing the ports by the current management of the NPA has led to 65% reduction in number of accidents recorded at the port corridor.

“Enforcement of Minimum Safety Standards on trucks which stipulates that all trucks accessing the Ports are inspected, certified and issued stickers to assure safety. 65% reduction in number of accidents recorded, arising from improved standards of trucks operating within the Port premises, “said a clearing agent, Chukwuka Ayam.

The NPA has also engaged the International Maritime Organization (IMO), on the development of Port Community System on the automation and digitalization of the port processes.

“The current management has engaged with the IMO on development of Port Community System pursuant to the IMO instrument on automation and digitalization of port processes. Also, award of consultancy for the deployment of Vessel Traffic Service (VTS); a maritime safety measure that equips with Domain Awareness Capability to enable us guide and provide safety information to vessels within our channels and ports approaches in line with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) conventions, “an official of the NPA said.

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