By RICHARDS ADENIYI
THE Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaeachi has finally launched the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the Port Services Support Portal (PSSP) for operations at the six ports in Nigeria to stem corrupt practices and ensure a user-friendly port at the six ports in Nigeria.
According to the Minister “the SOP and the PSSP are a direct response to a Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) report on Nigerian seaports released in 2013 by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) labeling Nigeria the most corrupt port in the world.
“With this launch today, we are certain that unwholesome practices by service providers at the ports will be greatly reduced and completely eliminated and it will become easier to detect culprits and defaulters and sanction them.”
Amaechi therefore, urged all agencies and port stakeholders to associate with the project which according to him, is aimed at providing quality service to members of the public and international community that patronized Nigerian ports.
The report was the outcome of a four-month corruption assessment study carried out by the ICPC in conjunction with the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption (TUGAR) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the six (6) Ports in Nigeria (Calabar, Tin Can, Apapa, Warri, Port Harcourt and Onne aimed at strengthening preventive mechanisms by identifying areas that are prone to corruption in the ports.
The report however, recommended that stakeholders should jointly implement integrity plans to strengthen transparency and accountability towards enhanced service delivery.
It has been revealed by clearing agents that it takes over 79 signatures of government officials to clear consignments from Nigerian ports. The launching is therefore, necessary to create a sufficient condition for the port sector to efficiently support the economy to enable faithful delivery of ports services in a friendly environment devoid of conflict interest and corrupt practices.
The SOP is a collation of operational procedures of all maritime government agencies, shipping companies, terminal operators, freight forwarders association and other stakeholders. The PSSP on the other hand, is a complaint management portal for operators to lodge complaints if any agency fails to follow the SOP.
Both the SOP and the PSSP would support port infrastructure development for sustenance of sea borne trade and as well as reduce cost of doing business at the ports which will induce cut in the cost of goods in the markets for citizens.