By Godwin Oritse
The Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority, (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman, has said that the Authority should not be solely blamed for lapses in cargo clearance in the nation’s seaport, saying that “it takes more than NPA to see cargo out of the ports.”
Speaking at a colloquium organized to celebrate the 68th birthday anniversary of Prince Olayiwola Shittu, in Lagos, Bala Usman said that her greatest challenge is to have agencies that are directly involved in cargo clearance play their respective roles seamlessly.
“The challenge is to get all agencies come under the Single Window which NPA is creating to achieve a smoother and faster clearance of cargos from the nation’s seaports”, she said.
The NPA boss called on freight forwarders in the nation’s Maritime industry to embrace the change agenda of the Federal Government through improvement in terms of organization, capacity building that will enable them practice their profession in line with international best practices.
According to her freight forwarders must play an effective role in ports operations because today’s customer desires services that are quick, reliable and flexible, adding that the change agenda of the Federal Government makes it imperative for all stakeholders in the maritime sector to be part of it.
She disclosed that the NPA has taken some steps aimed at improving the freight forwarding in Nigeria in tandem with the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and meeting the expectations of the World Bank on trade facilitation.
These steps, according to her, include the launching of the provisional, final billing and customer portal module of Revenue Invoice Management System aimed at improving service delivery, partner relationship, create efficient payment method, maximize revenue and eradicate loss and revenue leakages.
Other steps include the establishment of a committee in collaboration with Nigerian Navy to address Apapa gridlock, Call Up System for trucks with shipping companies and collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) to introduce the much awaited Single Window Platform.
Usman stressed the need for cooperation from all stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector, especially those involved in cargo clearance, to play their roles seamlessly noting that all hands must be on deck to ensure the success of the Single Window.