The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has tasked the newly inaugurated Board members of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on trade facilitation and sea port management in the country.
Amaechi gave the charge at the inauguration in Abuja last Thursday of members of the board, chaired by Mr Akin Ricketts.
Members of the board include Mohammed Koko, Onari Brown, Sen. Binta Garba, Sen. John James Akpan Udo-Edehe, Abdulwahab Adesina, Ghazali Moh’d, Mustapha Dutse and Prof. Idris Abubakar.
The minister said, “I just want to perform the official function of inaugurating the NPA board and to say that President Muhammadu Buhari, after due consideration, decided to appoint you into the board of the NPA. It is important you work with the management. It is important you realise that you are not management, you are a board and should work together with the management.
“For those who are not here I hope the Board Chairman will ensure this inauguration covers them and also ensure that we are able to move forward on trade facilitation and seaport management.
“Let me on behalf of the President congratulate all of you for the appointment and wish you well.”
According to Amaechi, the country is in an unusual times when it can’t afford to shut its sea ports but continue its activities to ensure trade takes place and people are able to feed.
Responding on behalf of members of the board, Ricketts pledged their commitment towards improvement of the operations of the Nigerian ports.
He said, “On behalf of my colleagues on the board, I will like to assure Mr President, through you, the Minister, that we will do our utmost to ensure that his confidence in us is not misplaced and will not be abused.
“As a serious government on a national rescue mission, we assure you that we will immediately commence discharging our responsibility without hindrance. As an organisation that has been in existence since 1955, we are sure that NPA will have its share of challenges and issues that need to be resolved or needs immediate attention. We will do that in conjunction with the management and all relevant stakeholders.’’
The Chairman said the Board would ensure it gives every and any matter that comes to its attention the consideration it deserves by dealing with it fairly and objectively without favours or ill will.
He assured that the board would not consider itself an alternate management or be in competition with it, but would collaborate to ensure the mission, vision and strategic objective of NPA were achieved.
“We will create an atmosphere where employees will be given the opportunity to air their views and express dissent on any policy or action they feel strongly about. And we will ensure measures are in place so that this process is not unduly abused.
“We will ensure that feedback mechanisms are in compliance from our major stakeholders and port owners so that we improve on service delivery, efficiency and capacity,’’ Ricketts said.
According to him, the major issues confronting our ports today are capacity utilisation and evacuation corridors, saying while the ports in the East were being grossly under-utilised due to many factors, the efficiency of the ports in Lagos was hampered by inadequate evacuation corridors.
He said the resultant effect was road congestion, which he said ultimately hindered prompt service delivery.