Executive order: Again, FG sacks NAFDAC, SON from seaports
L-R MD, NPA Hadiza Bala Usman, Comptroller General Of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) and Executive Director, Marine and Operations, NPA, Dr. SokonteHuttin Davies during the stakeholders’ meeting on the implementation of the Executive Order of the Federal Government on port operation at NPA, Western Ports in Apapa, Lagos.
As part of efforts at implementing the Executive Order issued penultimate week by the acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Federal Government has again streamlined the number of agencies that operate at the nation’s seaports, culminating in the sack of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC, and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON.
Recall that the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had in 2013 announced the ejection of the two agencies from the ports as part of measures to make the ports more efficient by reducing the number of check points at the ports, a development stakeholders believe contributed significantly to the massive and seemingly uncontrolled influx of fake and substandard products from Asia, especially China.
Under the new arrangement, only seven government agencies comprising the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Department of State Security DSS, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Immigration Service NIS and the Port Health.
Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, who was accompanied by the Comptroller General of Customs Col.Hameed Ali (Rtd.) during a stakeholders’ meeting in Apapa, Lagos, said that the Federal Government is resolute in its determination and renewed drive towards the implementation and enforcement of regulations and policies aimed at operational efficiency through the ease of doing business in all the nation’s seaports.
According to her, the government has urged the stakeholders to cooperate and collaborate with all approved agencies within the port environment with a view to actualising a strict implementation of the Executive Order recently released by the government, which borders primarily on achieving 24-hour port operations.
The NPA boss noted that the Executive Order issued by the government recently was targeted at improving efficient Port operationswhich would be critically enforced to the latter through the harmonisation of operational ideas and views by the relevant agencies.
“The Executive Order would ensure that unauthorised persons at the ports were not allowed access into the ports thereby reducing human traffic. Stringent measures would also be put in place to reduce corrupt practices that could hamper greater efficient operation across the ports. It would also prioritise the export of agricultural produce and mineral resources through the ports. This Order is to be actualise within 30 days of its issuance”, she said.
The MD however assured all stakeholders that the approved agencies would ensure that it works round the clock towards the swift implementation of this order. Said she, “we intend to discuss on ways of harmonising their operational bases and challenges to achieving the ease of doing business within our ports.
She warned that touting henceforth is not permitted just as giving and taking bribe at outlawed, adding that the Executive Order also provide for sanctions and disciplinary measures against defaulters who would be made to face the full weight of the law.
Meanwhile the Customs CG, while speaking at the event, reiterated the importance of the Executive Order as a strategy towards the change process put in place by the Government towards the improved operational efficiency in our Ports.
“The Order would allow for the reduction in the time of transaction by our customers through the elimination of bureaucracy and various bottle necks prevalent presently at the nation’s seaports”.
“We need to join hands together to achieving this mandate, we should ensure that we do not lengthen the period of doing business at the ports unnecessarily”, he stated.
The CG also insisted that the Executive Order would also ensure that port users are protected from unnecessary expenditure.