The Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar has stressed the need for all government agencies in the maritime sector to carry out joint inspection of vessels at the ports in order to fully actualize the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ initiative of the Federal Government.
Abubakar who made this known when he led a joint team from the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Commission on a courtesy visit to the management of the agency noted that it will aid the turn-around-time of vessels calling at our part and also bring about efficiency.
The ICPC boss, who was represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment and Spokesperson of the Commission, Mrs. Rashidat Okoduwa, Mni stated that activities in the ports will no longer be business as usual for operators and others who are yet to comply with the ease of doing business initiative, hence the reason they are seeking partnership with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other agencies to join in the resolve to ensure a business friendly and conducive maritime sector in Nigeria.
While welcoming the delegation, the Director General NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that transparency and integrity are crucial elements that must be put in place in order to realize a robust maritime sector in line with the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Federal Government.
“We must be conscious of our international image because people who do business in our ports have alternatives. We must strive to make our ports user friendly and competitive; to achieve this, we need the support of all Stakeholders in the maritime sector”, Dr. Dakuku said.
He further said NIMASA has fully keyed into the initiative of the ease of doing business and will continue to partner other relevant government bodies in the ports in order to fully realize the essence, which is geared towards making the nation’s ports competitive, adding that it will in turn bring about more employment opportunities and also generate more revenues to add to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Dr. Dakuku called for sanctions to erring port operatives, stating that it will serve as deterrent to others. He said, “Where there are no consequences for offences, people will continue to err; therefore the need to make people face the consequences for their actions or inactions is not negotiable”.
The NIMASA DG noted that the Agency has reviewed its Standards Operational Procedures (SOP) manual and made the operational departments sign a service level agreement whereby boarding any vessel and other transactions will be done in record time, with a view to reducing delay in turn-around-time of vessels and to enhance trade facilitation. This he explained is in order to ensure full compliance to the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business agenda.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello, who was represented by the Director, Legal Services of the NSC, Mr. Samuel Vongtau appealed for more collaborative efforts by all the various agencies in the ports in order to realize an economically viable maritime sector in Nigeria.
The Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business initiative is geared towards ensuring faster processes and procedures in ports activities in the country, whereby vessels calling at the nation’s ports get good time value for their businesses, thereby allowing for an improved turn-around-time in all forms of port transactions. To achieve this, all agencies in the ports are expected to collaborate and ensure seamless transactions in line with global best practices.