Sequel to the launch of the Nigerian Ports Process Manuel, NPPM, designed to promote transparency, eliminate bottlenecks and illegal demands; the Office of the Vice President, OVP, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has appointed Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, as lead agency to drive the manual’s implementation.
Shippers’ Council Head of Public Relations, Rakiya Zubairu, confirm the development in a statement made available to our reporter. The State House through the OVP has shown deep concern about reported deteriorating level of port delivery system said to be linked to various forms of corruption, and is believed to have continued to explore fresh avenues that seek a quick turnaround to curb the canker worm.
The Vice President believes that aside improved efficiency in ports operations, an effective implementation of innovative ideas will rapidly change the narrative, perception and the ranking of Nigeria in the Corruption Perception Index, CPI, of Transparency International.
Meanwhile, a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, indicated that the presidency is leaving no stone un-turned in effort to ensure that the newly developed Manuel Process change the narrative in ports efficiency drive and the elimination of corruption, there from.
Speaking at the launch of the new instrument at a brief ceremony held at the Presidential Villa last week, the statement quoted Osinbajo as saying that, “One solution developed to address the vulnerabilities in the port system is the Process Manual on Port operation. The manual is aimed at fostering an enabling environment for domestic and foreign port users.”
He continues: “An effective successful systemic intervention in the port sector will rapidly change the narrative, the perception and the ranking of Nigeria in the CPI. The Process Manual on Port Operations is expected to be one of the key indicators for the effective implementation of Executive Order 01 issued essentially to promote transparency and efficiency in the business environment, and designed to facilitate the ease of doing business.”
The Vice President informed that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, have been unsparing in efforts to combat corruption, and expressed regrets that despite government’s commitment, global institutions are still stuck with old perceptions regarding Nigerian’s port sector corruption index.
“The fight against corruption is one of the priorities of this administration and since 2015 the government has invested time and resources to ensure that corruption is curbed. Even after substantial gains have been attained in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, Nigeria’s ranking under certain indices in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is yet to show an improvement commensurate to the efforts of the government.
“In terms of utility and relevance, Transparency International CPI and its consequent data sources are determined largely by and produced for the consumption of the business community. It therefore has significant reputational and economic implications for countries that are being assessed.
“The analysis of the CPI further reveals that the ports are primary points of interface between the country and the business community, whether domestic or international, and the experiences of business community shape their perception which feeds into the reputation of the country.”
Speaking further about the significance of the Process Manual on Port Operations, the Vice President said “Process Manual is a step by step trajectory of processes at the ports. It outlines the actors and timelines for each process; it guides the user by highlighting all required documentation, payments, timelines, and the responsible agencies.
“It equally guides the port operator by detailing the implementation chain and provides clarity on the time required for each process. The Process Manual is expected to ensure predictability, promote transparency and accountability; reduce corruption in port processes; eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks faced by port users and reduce the opportunity for illegal demands in the ports.
“It is expected that the Manual will be reviewed and updated as issues and developments emerge.”
Also speaking on the new strategy, Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Ameachi said all agencies under the ministry will ensure its vigorous implementation. According to Akande, Head of the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reform, TUGAR, Mrs. Lilian Ekeanyanwu, said “the initiative is a pilot in the new trajectory of evidence-based response to issues of corruption”, adding:
We started off with the rigorous diagnostics in risk assessment and then made some proposals. This is one of the implementation of the different proposals that we have made. We will continue the monitoring role that we have been playing in the port sector especially with respect to complaints and redress which is to be accessed from the port service support portal.”
Other stakeholders present at the launch include the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mr Muhammed Babandede; Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh; Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello; Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, Mr. Mamman Ahmad and representatives of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, among others.