The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has mandated the newly inaugurated board members of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) to improve trade facilitation and seaport management in the country.
Speaking during the inauguration of the new board on Thursday in Abuja, the minister urges the board members to work with the management of the agency. He however reminded the board that they are not the management team of the agency but a board that should work together with the management,
The newly inaugurated board is chaired by Chief Akin Ricketts. Other board members of the authority include Sen. Binta Garba, Sen. John Udoidighe, Abdulwahab Adesina, Mohammed Koko, Mustapha Duste, Ghazali Moh’d, Prof. Idris Abubakar and Onari Brown.
He 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 and 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.”, the Minister said.
Responding on behalf of the members, the chairman of the board, Chief Ricketts pledged their commitment to improve the operations of the Nigerian Ports. Chief Ricketts promised that the board would ensure that fair and objective dealing is given to matters brought to their attention, giving it the consideration it deserved without being partial.
The chairman added that He would ensure that the board collaborates to ensure the mission, vision and strategic objective of NPA were achieved, adding that the board would not consider itself alternate management or be in competition with it.
“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 an organization 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.
Speaking further, the chairman said “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 put 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’’.
According to the Chairman, the major issues confronting the nation’s ports today are capacity utilization and evacuation corridors. He noted that while the ports in the East were being grossly underutilized due to many factors, the efficiency of the ports in Lagos was hampered by inadequate evacuation corridors, pointing that the resultant effect was congested road which ultimately hindered prompt service delivery.
He revealed that the board intends to confront the challenge head-on in conjunction with other stakeholders and management and that it would be done with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of port users and ease business in the ports as imagined by the Federal Government.