Eastern Ports Transformation: Ports Users take integrity Alliance to Boost SOP Compliance

-Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie

 As part of efforts to drive the transformation plan of Eastern Ports, some stakeholders operating at the Ports have volunteered to join the Port Users’ Integrity Alliance to boost Standard of Operation (SOP) compliance in the Eastern Ports.

The National Coordinator of the Port Standing Task Team PSTT, Moses Fadibe while inducting the team shortly after a brainstorming session at a one-day strategy meeting in Port Harcourt, involving all regulatory agencies, agents, shippers, in the Eastern Ports, said the members are expected to engender integrity, transparency and efficiency in the Eastern Ports.

“We support the need to have standard operating procedures cover all aspects of operations and the need for compliance processes to be set up in all the agencies. The Port Users’ Integrity Alliance mission is to demand greater compliance with SOPs and better government response to complaints regarding infractions and to steer projects.”

In her opening address, head, Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), Jane Onwumere, represented by Bosede Oguntuberu, while speaking on the topic “Promoting compliance to the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on vessel clearance through collective action in eastern ports”, explained that “the efforts were to address the issue of corruption from the roots through strengthening preventive mechanisms. TUGAR, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) have embarked on a ‘Corruption Risk Assessment’ (CRA) in 2011. The main objective of the CRA is to identify areas that are prone to corruption, proffer recommendations and jointly with the relevant MDAs develop Integrity plans that would strengthen accountability and transparency towards enhanced service delivery.”

The Director of Programmes of the Convention of Business Integrity (CBI), Emmanuel Bosah, explained that the biggest challenge the Ports face is non-compliance. “The objective is to work with the government and private sectors and identify how to achieve Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in eastern ports and the terminals within this region. “We brought together private and government sectors to discuss not just the challenges but to identify new solutions that will grow to be what we see in Lagos, with the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) leading that effort.”

“The previous engagement was to build the capacity of compliance officers to understand how to deliver their role, how to comply and how to ensure that everything they do is transparent, consistent, and in line with rules and regulations of the authorities. The point of this one is how best, as part of that compliance response, to work collectively, to now make sure we understand what the requirements were, so that anybody can access them through the SOPs developed by Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN). In so doing, we ensure that the gaps are understood and the challenges are addressed and everybody is equally responsible together to really improve efficiency and EoDB in the ports in the east,” he said.

The zonal director of south-south zone of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Glory Onojedo on his part said “The programe is timely, and it is imperative that the ease of doing business should work at the eastern ports. There haven’t been incidents of piracy in a long time at the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria has been removed from the red alert of the crime. So security agencies should work together with the task team to ensure no multiple cost are imposed on ships sailing into the eastern ports, as this will encourage the ease of doing business at the ports and also boost compliance.”

Other experts who brainstormed at the stake holders meeting include the Executive Secretary of the Institute of Export Operations and Management (IEOM), Ofon Udofia and the Associate Director of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), Captain Vivek Menon,

Precious Ahiakwo-Ovie reports that the one-day strategic stakeholders’ meeting was anchored by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the CBI in partnership with the Technical Unit on Government and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).


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