In line with the Executive Order handed out to agencies at the seaports by Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has asked agencies like the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); Port Quarantine Services; National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to leave the ports with immediate effect.
Speaking on Wednesday in Apapa during a meeting with other agencies of government aimed at looking at enforcing the Presidential Executive Order at the seaports, the Managing Director of the NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman named the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigerian Police Force; Department of State Security (DSS); Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Port Health as the approved agencies to operate at the nation’s seaports. This was even as the MD ordered other agencies not mentioned and approved to operate at the seaports to leave with immediate effect.
According to her: “I want to recognise seven approved agencies of government that operate at the port.
“In 2011 an approval was granted to streamline activities of government agencies at the port.
For ease of referencing, the approved agencies are Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA); Nigerian Customs Service (NCS); Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Police Force; Department of State Security (DSS); Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and Port Health.
“The above mentioned agencies are the approved ones authorised to operate at the ports, and anyone operating at the port outside this seven agencies are not required and they should know they have to vacate whatever location they are having within the port because the current order stipulates they must not operate within the port.”
She specifically stated that the agencies ejected from the ports are to come in when there services are required.
“NDLEA are required to come in and provide function as at when required. All agencies that are not mentioned are to vacate the port or anywhere they are operating from. NDLEA is to come in when required,” the NPA boss stated.
Also speaking, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col . Hameed Ali said the meeting is key to the operations of the service.
He said the order when implemented will reduce clearing time and cost of doing business at the ports.
“I want to say we have embarked on a change process that we have never had before and there is tendency to say it is one of those things .
“It’s going to stay because we believe all of us should be committed to this. The ease of doing business is to reduce time and processes and cost at the ports.
“I will enjoin all of you to join hands with all of us and to ensure that we implement this to the latter.
“This will help in reducing time, cost of doing business at the port, and for importers this is critical to them.
“It is critical because there is no need to spend more time doing what we should do in three or five minutes. There is no need to lengthen our paper process. It doesn’t make any sense.”
The Executive Order issued by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo on 18 May, 2017 said: “All agencies currently physically present in Nigerian Ports shall within 60 days harmonise their operations into one single interface station domiciled in one location in the port and implemented by a single joint task force at all times, without prejudice to necessary back end procedures.
“There shall be no touting whatsoever by official or unofficial persons at any port in Nigeria. On duty staff shall be properly identified by uniform and official cards while off duty staff shall stay away from the ports except with the express approval of the agency head. The Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Security shall enforce this order.’’
According to the Order, “any official caught soliciting or receiving bribes from port users shall be subjected to immediate removal from port and disciplinary as well as criminal proceedings in line with extant laws and regulations.’ This shall be applied with immediate effect, ”
The new single interface station at each Port, shall capture, track and record information on all goods arriving and departing from Nigeria and remit captured information to the head of the MDA and the head of the National Bureau of Statistics on a weekly basis.’’
In addition, the Acting President, through the Executive Order, has directed each Port in Nigeria “to assign an existing export terminal to be dedicated to the exportation of agriculture produce within 30 days of the issuance Order.’’
“The Apapa Port shall resume 24-hour operations within 30 days of the issuance of this Order.’’