The Federal Ministry of Transportation has lauded the Nigerian Ports Process Manual for reducing vessels berthing time at the country’s seaports from five hours to ninety minutes.
Speaking in Lagos at the flag-off of the Operation Free the Port Corridor by the Port Standing Task Team, a committee under the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the Permanent Secretary, FMOT, Dr Madgalene Ajani, said the time used in resolving importers’ complaints had reduced from 10 days to four hours.
She also said the reduction in berthing and complaint time had helped to improve the ease of doing business and efficiency at the seaports.
Ajani, however, explained that freeing the port corridor must be done holistically and with the support of other agencies.
“To free the port corridor, the key thing is that we have to do things holistically and that treatment is what we are trying to achieve. The aim of this holistic achievement is for us to achieve ease of doing business in Nigerian ports and the corridors.
“So, it takes all of us here to agree that we can do this and to be able to achieve this we need to have a Standard Operating Procedure that we need to follow. The SOP is not conscripting everybody to follow one person’s SOP. The NPPM will put everybody’s SOP into focus and we will come together as a team to achieve results.”
She, however, commended the presidential standing committee on what had been achieved in the last one year, adding that the feat could not have realised by the activities of only just one person, but everyone.
“In December 2020, we stormed Apapa but we could not even navigate. We came by water from Marina and even to drive out from Apapa Port to Tin Can to see what was going on was not very easy. And after, we constituted a project development implementation team and everybody was working to see that goods for Christmas went to the users. In January, February 2021, the whole thing clamped down. And the question is, will we ever be able to clear Apapa corridor? I can boldly say that we are moving forward.”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, NSC, Emmanuel Jime, said the task team was set up for the purpose of removing illegal checkpoints and shanties along the port corridors.
He applauded the support and level of buy-in obtained from the stakeholders, especially the public and private sectors.
“I am particularly excited because of the level of buy-in obtained from the stakeholders coming from both the public and private sectors. It just goes to demonstrate how all of us are eager to rid the port corridors of the anomalies we witness daily.
“This exercise ‘Operation Free the Ports’ Corridors’ is fittingly named. Indeed, the port corridors are not free; the traffic does not have a free flow, the shanties are not freeing spaces for a conducive business environment, and the unnecessary checkpoints obviously do not make for an atmosphere free of extortion and other forms of corrupt practices.