The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday disclosed that the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM), launched by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, can tackle ports’ corruption and extortion.

The manual was launched by the Vice President on Dec.10, 2020, to boost efficiency, accountability in Nigeria’s port industry, through a significant reduction of bureaucratic roadblocks for stakeholders in the sector, in addition to ensuring that smuggling was truly stamped out in Nigerian ports.

He made this known in a meeting that had in attendance the Minister of Transportation and other stakeholders on the implementation of the NPPM, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr Bashir Jamoh disclosed the two major challenges in the meantime industry were insecurity and corruption; and he was glad that the implementation of the manual would tackle the latter.

“The challenge in the maritime industry, if you remove the issue of insecurity, the next has to do with corruption and addressing these issues are embedded in the NPPM.

“Our industry can only be sustained in terms of economic growth if we have sustainable systems in place to make our ports attractive,” Jamoh said.

Jamoh noted that cost was another issue to look into, adding that if the country continued to enjoy multiple taxes under the pretext of generating income, the ports would not be competitive.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the various agencies in the maritime sector were closely tied.

Bala-Usman stressed the need for seamless cooperation and integration of relevant agencies.

The NPA boss said that NPA would ensure compliance to the manual and implement sanctions for non-complaince.

In his goodwill message, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr Fredrick Oladeyinde, Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, said the state was on top of the Apapa gridlock situation.

“We are working with the NPA to make sure truck parks are established along logistics routes and the state has given out 31 hectares of land for these truck parks for instance.

“We will continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure we develop the best ports system in Africa,” he said.

Mr Olusoji Apampa, Chief Executive Officer, Convention on Business Integrity, representing the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, said that the level of corruption had reduced at the ports.

Also, the Registrar, Council for Regulating Freight Forwarders in Nigeria, Mr Sam Nwakohu, called for collaboration amongst the maritime agencies.

Nwakohu said that it would help freight forwarders to make an input by ensuring cargoes leave the ports smoothly.

Nwakohu expressed satisfaction that the manual was a good initiative capable of improving the nation’s economy.