Mar 24, 2017: Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), an umbrella body of terminal operators, says it is committed to partnering the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to make Nigerian ports more competitive.

They say the body is also in support of the planned review of the concession agreement and other initiatives of the present NPA management that are geared towards positing the seaports for good.

A statement signed by Bolaji Akinola, spokesperson of STOAN, noted that the terminal operators also commended Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of NPA, for taking the bold steps and initiatives to address factors militating against efficient port operations.

“As the MD of NPA has stated several times, the concession agreement is subject to intermittent reviews. This has also been the position of STOAN. The review will address unforeseen developments and challenges encountered in the system. We support it.

“We also support all the steps she has taken so far. We are on the same page as far as our ports are concerned. The abiding interest, which should as a matter of fact be the interest of every Nigerian, is making Nigerian ports the best in Africa and among the best in the world,” STOAN said.

Akinola further said it was working with the Hadiza Bala Usman-led NPA management and other relevant agencies of the Federal Government to address certain government policies, which are diverting cargoes away from Nigerian ports.

“We must commend Usman for taking time to tour and assess the ports upon assumption of office in order to appreciate the issues at hand. We are aware also that she has accessed the state of the port access roads and have promised to ensure that government fixes those roads as soon as possible. This is certainly highly commendable and it shows that the present government is a listening government.

“We are also aware of the meeting between the NPA and the Comptroller-General of Customs to refine and simplify the cargo clearing system at the port. These are genuine efforts that must not pass unappreciated,” the STOAN said.

He however appealed to the government to address the issue of high import duty on imported vehicles and the restriction of 41 items from the official foreign exchange window of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as part of measures to attract cargo to the ports.

STOAN said since the ports were concessioned in 2006, significant progress has been made in ensuring prompt service delivery, quick turnaround time of vessels and improved welfare of dockworkers, among others.

“We assure the NPA MD and the government of our full support always in implementing the change agenda and bringing about the dividends of democracy to Nigerians,” the STOAN added.

Photo Source: Nigerian Ports Authority

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