The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has urged agencies to strengthen compliance functions to sustain and maintain standards in the ports.
Sambo gave the advice at the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), and Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) Compliance Roundtable on Thursday in Lagos.
The roundtable was titled: “Institutionalising Operational Efficiency within the Maritime Industry through Compliance Functions of the Agencies.”
Sambo represented by Mr Babatunde Sule of the ministry also urged maritime operators to amplify their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to support the Port Standing Task Team.
“In 2021, CBi and MACN in collaboration with stakeholders achieved milestones in reducing corruption and promoting accountability in the maritime sector.
“In evaluating agencies’ level of compliance, consistent steps should be taken and this will encourage transparency and generate revenue for the country.
“The ministry will not relent in supporting the team in its effort in tackling corruption in the ports,” he said.
He urged all stakeholders to report challenges, corrupt demands and always seek redress.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC), Mr Emmanuel Jime, described port manual as a major determinant that would foster efficiency, transparency and healthy competition in the sector.
Jime represented by Mr Moses Fadipe, Coordinator Port Standing Task Team, said that the mandate of the NSC is to ensure compliance of all stakeholders in the ports.
“To achieve its mandate, the NSC instituted a compliant service mechanism to handle disputes, robust enforcement mechanism, provide guidelines on tariff setting to avoid arbitrariness and others,” he said.
Speaking on compliance risk management, Fadipe said that steps in the port manual should be followed diligently to avoid an infraction.
He urged agencies of government to ensure strong support to the task team noting that they should be available for periodic meetings.
Mr Peter Agbaminoja, Assistant Director at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, said that the agency investigated 22 cases.
Agbaminoja, however, noted that no staff had been sanctioned for any infringement.
Earlier, Mr Soji Apampa, Chairman, CBi, urged stakeholders in the port to forward challenges being faced in the industry to the relevant authorities to ensure effective and efficient port.
While reeling out statistics of achievement recorded since the implementation of the Port Process Manual, Apampa noted that incidences at port had reduced.
“For port call, in terms of levies paid, it has reduced from $150,000 to $20,000; as regards complaints from 645 vessels that arrived at port, 88 cases of complaints were recorded and 83 out of the 88 cases were fully resolved, five still ongoing..
“28 large shipping companies have started using the help desk and pre-arrival notification system and this is a testament of the growing confidence imposed on the manual.
“An Integrity Alliance was formed and 246 stakeholders have pledged alliance to it from the Eastern and Western port,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the purpose of the roundtable was to review agencies degree of adherence to their Standard Operation Procedures.