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Minister urges maritime agencies to strengthen port compliance

The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Mu’azu Sambo, has urged government agencies to strengthen compliance functions to sustain and maintain standards at the ports. He gave the advice at the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) and Maritime Anti- Corruption Network (MACN) Compliance Roundtable in Lagos. The roundtable was titled: “Institutionalising Operational Efficiency within the Maritime Industry through Compliance Functions of the Agencies.” The minister, represented by Mr. Babatunde Sule of the ministry, advised maritime operators to amplify their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to support the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT).

Sambo stressed: “In 2021, CBi and MACN in collaboration with stakeholders achieved milestones in reducing corruption and promoting accountability in the maritime sector. “In evaluating agencies’ level of compliance, consistent steps should be taken and this will encourage transparency and generate revenue for the country. “The ministry will not relent in supporting the team in its effort in tackling corruption in the ports.” The minister urged all stakeholders to report challenges, and corrupt demands and always seeks redress. Earlier, Chairman, CBi, Mr. Soji Apampa, also advised stakeholders in the port to forward challenges being faced in the industry to the relevant authorities to ensure effective and efficient port. While reeling out statistics of achievement recorded since the implementation of the Port Process Manual, Apampa noted that incidences at the port had reduced.

“For port call, in terms of levies paid, it has reduced from $150,000 to $20,000; as regards complaints from 645 vessels that arrived at port, 88 cases of complaints were recorded and 83 out of the 88 cases were fully resolved, five still ongoing. 28 large shipping companies have started using the help desk and pre-arrival notification system and this is a testament to the growing confidence imposed on the manual. “An integrity alliance was formed and 246 stakeholders have pledged alliance to it from the Eastern and Western port,” he said.

Also, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Emmanuel Jime, described the port manual as a major determinant that will foster efficiency, transparency and healthy competition in the sector. Jime represented by the Coordinator, PSTT, Mr Moses Fadipe, said that the mandate of the NSC was to ensure compliance of all stakeholders in the ports. Jime noted: “To achieve its mandate, the NSC instituted a compliant service mechanism to handle disputes, robust enforcement mechanism, provide guidelines on tariff setting to avoid arbitrariness and others.” He said that steps in the port manual should be followed diligently to avoid an infraction.

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