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Bureau urges NPA to automate processes

The Director-General of BPSR, Dr Dasuki Arabi and Mr Alhassan Abubakar, Acting General Manger, Abuja National Office, NPA

By Salisu Sani-Idris

Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR) on Tuesday urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to automate all its documentation and payment processes as a one stop shop to enhance ease of doing business at the nation’s ports.

The Director-General of BPSR, Dr Dasuki Arabi, made the call at the 2022 edition of BPSR Lunch Time Seminar on the Contribution of NPA in Enhancing Economic Growth and the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, in Abuja.

Arabi said that the measure would complement the efforts of NPA towards eradicating the perceived bureaucratic bottlenecks that had been responsible for the high cost of doing business at Nigerian ports.

” There is need to automate the documentation and payment processes, terminal operators, shipping operators, and government agencies at the ports.

” If all these processes are automated, as a one stop shop, it will ease transactions and reduce time and cost of doing business.

” The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), however, has been consistently making efforts to relieve the importers and ports operators with several incentives.”

He noted that port operations such as scheduling of arriving vessels, allocation of wharf space and cranes to serve the vessels, loading and unloading of cargoes were very vital to Nigeria’s economy.

” Port Operators attributed the following factors as contributing to the high cost of doing business at the ports to include gridlock on the port access roads, delay in scanning and physical examination, duplicated charges and charges not tied to services.

” Other factors were lack of holding bay and trailer parks; unethical conduct of shipping companies and terminal operators; infrastructure problem; customs procedure and associated delays.

” The Nigeria Ports Authority in implementing the executive order on ease of doing business, is addressing these and other related challenges.

” To enhance economic growth and ease of doing business, the Nigerian Ports Authority went through a reform programme to promote efficiency through a Private-Public Partnership which resulted in the concession of the corporation.

” On this note, some port terminals which were formerly managed and regulated by the Nigerian Port Authority were concessioned to private operations for a period of time,” Arabi said.

In his presentation, the Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said ports were of strategic importance to international trade as nodal point in the international logistics.

Represented by Mr Alhassan Abubakar, Acting General Manger, Abuja National Office, NPA, Bello-Koko said ports industry indirectly contributed to the economy through the facilitation of businesses within other sectors of the economy such as trade, transportation and oil sectors.

” Excessive ports cost or delay can prompt investors to locate new production facilities in other facilities in other countries or regions.

“In many countries, high ports costs have an economic impact similar to generalised imports duty, increasing the cost of all imported goods.”

” It is sufficient to say, therefore, that for the Nigerian Ports Authority to really play its strategic role in the context of our national development and economic growth, it becomes germane that our ports must run in line with the requirements of modern shipping and ports management.

” It is good to note that ports operation is about time and space – both must be optimised to make the ports efficient as it comes with its concomitant effects on ports cost and competitiveness,” he said (NAN)

Edited by Angela Okisor/Idris Abdulrahman

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