We’re committed to making Nigeria’s seaports globally competitive-MD NPA
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman has assured that the current management under her watch would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the nation’s seaports become efficient, user-friendly and globally competitive.
The MD, made the assertion while delivering a keynote address at the ongoing three-day training workshop on Data and investigative journalism organised for reporters and maritime editors by Premium Times in partnership with NPA, which is holding in Lagos.
Represented by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of the authority, Mr. Jatto Adams, the MD observed that prior to the 2006 port reforms, which brought terminal operators to handle cargo, the ports were grappling with lots of challenges, which hampered their operational efficiency, thus making them inefficient and uncompetitive.
According to her, on the assumption of office, the current management under her supervision promised and made a commitment to all the stakeholders, partners and indeed the general public that it would build on the successes of the previous managements as part of measures to take the industry to the next level.
It was gathered that this pledge was in response to calls by port stakeholders on the relevant authorities to tap the potential and opportunities that the country could, given her vantage position in the sub-Saharan Africa, which would lead to a rapid growth of the economy through international trade and commerce.
She disclosed that with the support of the media and other stakeholders, the authority under the current management has achieved great milestones in all fronts with ensure that the maritime industry competes favourably not only within the Sub-Saharan African and the Gulf of Guinea, but also across the global community.
Some of these milestones include the recent recognition by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO 901 and the OHSAS 1800) certification for the management’s steps towards moving the authority to the next level.
Others include the establishment of Command and Control Communication and Intelligence Centre for the NPA, which serves as surveillance for all security activities and information network centre for security agencies at the ports as well as the acquisition of four new tug boats comprising MT Daura, MT Ubiama, MT Uromi and MT Majiya in order to improve operational efficiency.
It had also upgraded the 25-year Port Development Master Plan, the transformation of the authority’s manpower development practices to improve skills, knowledge and capacity of the workforce, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding MoU with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing for the reconstruction of the port access roads and most recently the commissioning of the ultra-modern simulation centre at the Dock Yard, which would help conserve the nation’s foreign exchange spent in training tug masters abroad, among several others.
“We at the NPA strongly believe we could not have achieved these alone without your support for improved safety, environmental protection, operational efficiency and improved service delivery, among others. The maritime industry through the NPA is experiencing reduced operational expenses, better management control and increased customer satisfaction, improved service delivery and most importantly, Nigeria’s seaports are now attractive to investors, which would further enhance national growth and development”, she said.
Meanwhile the GM C&SC, Adams had while making an opening remarks at the event, also said that the management has come up with short, medium and long terms solutions to the gridlock on most of the port access roads, which hamper movement of cargo in and out of the seaports.
These include the introduction of truck terminals under a call-up system, the reconstruction of existing port access roads up to Iyana Oworonshoki axis of Lagos and ultimately linking all the ports to a rail tracks, which would provide a permanent solution to the menace.
On his part, Assistant General Manager in the C &SC department of the authority, Mallam Isah Suwaid, while also speaking at the event, urged participants to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the training workshop to improve their skills, especially in terms of accessing and analysing data.
In attendance at the event were senior maritime reporters and editors from various media houses and some senior members of the C &SC department, including Assistant General Manager, Mallam Nasir Ibraham.