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Osinbajo Nigeria set to attain hub port status in West Central Africa, says FG

He said that SOP's and PSSP would not only streamline processes of port operations, adding that they would also serve as important instruments in driving economic growth and development of Nigeria.

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Nigeria set to attain hub port status in W/Central Africa, says FG play

Nigeria set to attain hub port status in W/Central Africa, says FG

(Theeagleonline)

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday said that Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) would advance government’s efforts in ensuring that Nigeria attained the hub port status in West and Central Africa.

Osinbajo said this in Abuja at the launch of the SOPs and the PSSP.

He said that SOP's and PSSP would not only streamline processes of port operations, adding that they would also serve as important instruments in driving economic growth and development of Nigeria.

``The ports must play the role of making it easier to trade across borders as well as drive Nigerian trade policy better.

``Port procedures have direct impact on business environment for Nigeria and foreign businesses to enhance economic development,’’ Osinbajo said.

He said that enhanced port administration would significantly make it easier for Nigerian businessmen to import components needed for industrialisation.

The vice president said that the key component of this administration - Change Agenda - was a development in diversifying to non-oil sector economy to achieve the necessary targets.

Osinbajo said that the present administration would ensure that government ``is a business partner and not a competitor to business’’.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the formation of a Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, charged with the duty of reforming Nigerian business climate.

Osinbajo said that productivity and competitiveness could be accomplished when government policies were transparent, predictable and friendly to business.

He said that the present administration remained committed to achieving a legacy and shared responsibility in port developments.

The vice president said that a nation could position itself as a major exporter that could earn significant resources by just being efficient.

Osinbajo commended the efforts of the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, for ensuring the standard procedures by
enhancing the ports portal.

He said that the Nigerian Shippers' Council, being the Port Economic Regulator, had worked effectively in making sure that SOP was achievable in the Nigerian ports environment.

Amaechi, the Chief Host of the occasion, said that SOPs and PSSP would pave way for openness and transparency in port operations.

The minister said that the implementation of SOPs and PSSP would serve as tools for compliance and setting standards for assessing compliance in a transparent manner.

He said that the launch of the SOP's would enhance credibility and legal defensibility of actions emanating from ports.

``This platform promises to make our ports competitive and create enabling environment for improved revenue.

``It is not contestable that having SOP's will contribute to knowledge management in the various organisations at our ports,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Amaechi as saying.

He said that the SOPs would also be used as part of personal work instructions and training programmes, adding that it could be used to achieve compliance with organisational requirements and government policies.

Amaechi said that to facilitate maritime traffic, his ministry had been able to reduce the number of agencies in the ports to conform with global practices.

``Federal Government in its 2016 budget had prioritised development of infrastructure for the transport sector.

``Furthermore, the Advanced Cargo Tracking System, Single Window, Inland Dry Ports and Truck Transit Parks are other initiatives being pursued to support transportation and trade.

``Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has fully automated port operations so as to be able to meet the target of 48-hour clearance,’’ NAN quotes the minister as saying.

``The NCS ASYCUDA (++) has been upgraded to 3.0 and also established the Nigerian Trade Hub.

``This reform, though still on-going, have enhanced efficiency at the ports and will greatly encourage Foreign Direct Investments in Nigeria,’’ Amaechi said.

He commended the efforts of the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC), the In-House Committee on Ports Process Manual that worked with the consultants on the harmonisation of SOPs and the development of PSSP.

Amaechi also commended the efforts of all the key Anti-corruption agencies such as Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, (ICPC), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Technical Unit on Government and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR),

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that it was necessary for Nigerian ports to be competitive, integrate simplicity and automation at the ports.

Bello said that automation at the ports would eliminate leakages and corruption..

The executive secretary said that there would be diversification of the economy, adding that the procedures of all agencies operating at the ports would be displayed on the portal.

Also speaking, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, said the SOP's and PSSP were not just tools that would fight corruption but would also produce service excellence at the ports.

He said that NIMASA was working toward making sure that Nigerian ports were the preferred ports in Africa.

Peterside said that port operators would spend less time on cargo clearance, adding that this would put stop to abuse by some port agencies because the portal had explained the functions of all agencies.

The Deputy Comptroller-General (DCG) Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr Dan Ugo, who represented the Comptroller-General, Retired Col. Hameed Ali, said the launch of the SOPs would enhance Customs operations.

Ali said that NCS supported the introduction of PSSP which would gazette Customs platforms such as Single Window and other things, aimed at eradicating corruption in Customs operations.

In a message to the programme, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Malam Habib Abdullahi, said that there had been an improved collaboration between all government agencies at ports.

Abdullahi, who was represented by the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Mr David Omonibeke, said that NPA operated six ports that were Customs-controlled, adding that the SOPs would reduce corruption in all ports operations.

He said that the 48-hour cargo clearance target would be achievable with the introduction of SOPs by the Nigerian Shippers' Council.

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