From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
To curb delay and corruption through human interface, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) have agreed on full automation of the harmonised port processes.
Both agencies will also implement the Port and Flag State Administration to minimise human direct contact onboard vessels calling at the nation’s ports, in line with the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM).
The move was agreed to during a working visit to NIMASA in Lagos by the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello. According to the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, the agency’s operation was close to 85 per cent automated.
He disclosed that NIMASA has undertaken an in-house harmonisation exercise to reduce human interface and was now fully ready for inter-agency harmonisation.
“We thank you for obtaining approval for the cargo tracking note,” Jamoh added. “This will reduce loss of man-hour and assist in exposing non-declaration or under-declaration at the nation’s ports, thus improving revenue generation for the Federal Government.”
According to Jamoh, since the Deep Blue project took over security and working closely with the Nigerian Navy, the nation has witnessed a reduction in the number of security breaches at the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA).
“We are beginning to record a reduction in attacks in our waters, and we hope to sustain this and later demand a change in status of cost of insurance of vessels visiting Nigerian waters,” he said.
On his part, Bello said that cost of port operations in Nigeria could reduce by over 35 per cent when the standard operating procedures in the Nigerian Port Process Manual are fully implemented.
“Our ports are in competition with other ports in the region, so we need to strengthen collaboration on the establishment of indicative freight rates,” said.
The manual, launched by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on December 9, 2020 during the International Anti-Corruption Day, is a collection of processes taken from the Standard Operating Procedures of stakeholders in the ports sector. It aims to improve operations, service timelines, efficiency and accountability at the ports.