The call for an inquiry into the relevance of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has received support from key stakeholders in the maritime sector with some calling for the agency to be scrapped out rightly.
Fred Adjuzie Chairman, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) NAGAFF Apapa Chapter opined that the agency’s presence at the ports is of no importance.
‘I don’t see what the NPA is doing at the port for now, they are not helping matters, they are no longer relevant and the government is losing money by continuing to pay them.
If you go to NPA you will see big offices belonging to different General Managers, if government cannot scrap the NPA, then they should reduce the officers in the agency.
His position is corroborated by Alhaji Inuwa Muhammed Chairman, Port Truck Owners, who also called for the agency to be pruned or scrapped
I support the un-bundling of the NPA; I believe it is long overdue. If at all they must remain, the staff should be pruned down because they are not doing anything, since the ports have been concessioned to private operators, they should remain with the pilotage services and marine operation only and allow the terminal operators and other agencies for the port operations, as it is currently, the activities of the NPA in the port operations is mainly a duplication.
Also calling for scrutiny into the activities of NPA is Dr Zebulon Ikokide a Maritime Trainer, who said the presence of NPA at the ports is making the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports more expensive
‘Apart from Security and Harbour departments of NPA, no other department is working. All the money NPA collect are also being collected by the Terminal Operators. This is why people say that it is costly to do business in Nigeria. You remember that when NPA was handling cargo discharge and delivery, the charges were one, but now NPA charges the importers and the Terminal Operators also charge the importers; double charges. Actually if they (NPA) are not there, doing business in the port will be cheaper than it is at present. What the Government should do is to set a small unit that is technical in nature and warehouse the present security and harbour department to oversee the berthing and sailing of vessels and the implementation of the ISPS code. The essence of having managing director and a host of General Managers is uncalled for and a sure waste of Government scarce resources.
Recall that a bill, sponsored by Sen. Andy Uba proposing to transmute the NPA through the modified Ports and Harbours bill to a new body to be known as Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authority is presently being debated on the floor of the Senate.