MD NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman

The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, has commenced a process of restructuring its operational and management structures as part of efforts to make it truly professional and performance driven organisation.

This is sequel to an approval granted by the board of the authority sometime in July, 2017 for the emergence of a new organisational structure and the commencement of a business process re-engineering initiative that will create synergies to enhance efficiency.

The board had also approved the scrapping of the zonal structure of the authority as well as the redistribution of all General Managers in its employ, a development that would lead to the reduction of the number of General Managers from the current 25 to 22, an indication that three of them would either be demoted or shown the way out perhaps through compulsory retirement.

In a statement signed by the Principal Manager in charge of Corporate and Strategic Communications of the authority, Ibrahim Nasiru on behalf of the General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications said that these far reaching new initiatives are designed to make the NPA a truly professional and performance driven organisation.

The statement says that this restructuring had become necessary because NPA’s current structure has remained the same several years after the completion of the port reform programme concluded in 2006, which changed the role of the authority from owner/operator to landlord.

Recall that the change in the status of NPA under the concession programme ceded the cargo handling operations to private terminal operators; outsourcing of dredging, towage services and vessel maintenance as well as use of contractors to build infrastructure.

The statement reads in part: “Part of the new structure approved by the board include the reduction in the number of General Managers from 25 to 22; the upgrade of the Hydrography and Dredging Department into a Division to be headed by a General Manager, which is in recognition of the strategic importance of this division to the authority’s core functions  and the upgrading of the Information and Communications Technology Department  into a Division to take more responsibilities from departments such as utilities”

“Other recommendations include the creation of a new Monitoring and Regulations Division, the merging of the Capital Projects and Maintenance Divisions into a single Engineering Division to eliminate redundancies; the scrapping of the Special Duties Division; scrapping of the zonal office structure such that departments in the ports will now report directly to the head office, change in the nomenclature of nine departments and divisions including Public Affairs, which will now be known as Corporate Communications; Overseas Office (London Office) into International Liaison Office; Capital Projects and Maintenance Divisions now to be known as Engineering Division; Hydrography& Dredging Department now Hydrography  Services Division”.

Similarly, under the new structure, the Monitoring and Compliance Division would now be called Monitoring and Regulation Division; Commercial and Port Promotion Services Department to be changed to Tariff and Billing Department; Secretary/Legal Services now Legal Services; Insurance and Risk Management Department to be renamed Enterprise Risk Management Department and the Business Development and Joint Venture Department into Public- Private Partnership Division.

According to the statement, the management expects that the new structure will enhance the authority’s capacity to meet its new mandate and strategic direction, improve allocation and optimisation of resources; eliminate the duplications thereby reducing cost to income ratio to the advantage of all stakeholders and the macro economy at large,

The management is also confident that these new initiatives will specifically check the current duplication of responsibilities across divisions, unnecessary bottleneck currently created by the zonal office structure, forestall redundancies created by the transfer for certain core functions of the authority to third party contractors and the multiple reporting relationships and attendant red tape.

“The business process re-engineering process is the next phase of the re-organisation and it will detail work procedures that will enable the authority take full advantage of the technology that has already been deployed and terminate the low capacity utilisation engendered by manual processes”.

“The NPA is mindful of the welfare of its employees and has assured them that no job will be affected by this process. Members of staff of departments that have been scrapped or merged will be deployed to newly created departments in line with their relevant competences”

“The authority also assures that the ultimate goal of these initiatives is to institute a transparent and efficient system which will deliver the best dividend to Nigeria and its citizens. We therefore solicit the support of all Nigerians to the achievement of these goals”, the statement also said.

Recall that the new management came on board sometime in June last year and has since introduced new measures to enhance port efficiency, including deployment of Information Communication Technology ICT for most of its operations.