By Uche Usim
Reforms aimed at improving port efficiency, revenue generation, stakeholder satisfaction and investment opportunities are imminent as the new Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mrs. Hadiza Bala Usman settles for duties.
On her assumption of office few weeks ago, Usman did not mince words when she sought the cooperation of staff to turn around the fortunes of the agency.
“As a team leader, I have come to add my best efforts so that we can collectively achieve results for our industry. We shall prioritise investments in primary equipment and infrastructure and services committed to by NPA in the concession agreements to hasten clearance of imports and exports at the ports. As we collaborate in the best traditions of public service, I believe that with commitment and diligence, our hard work can position NPA as a model agency.
“Our ports are a critical artery of the economy and it is our duty to ensure that the operators deliver port services at the standards that our businesses deserve in the 21st century in supporting President Buhari’s agenda of economic diversity. We will strive for enhanced operating efficiency and to facilitate improved revenue generation into the national treasury.
“We will listen to our customers, importers, exporters and other agencies working in the ports to improve on our service delivery to the nation. Anything less than world-class services is simply not acceptable as attaining such heights is a mission to which I am certain we can all subscribe”, she said .
She said workers must see themselves as service providers and not some lords so that the best is achieved. Interestingly, stakeholders are taking her by her words as commences her first official engagement outside Lagos on Wednesday.
They insist on seeing actions by the young woman, especially in the area of ridding the ports of sharp practices which have stunted their growth.
President, Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, expressed confidence in Ms Bala Usman, saying she understands the port industry very well as it was during her time as the Enterprise Officer at the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) that the 2006 port concession programme was successfully executed. Most of the port industry stakeholders who share the view of Amiwero also said they were confident of her capabilities to deliver not because she is the first woman and young person ever to occupy the exalted position, but that her accomplishments in her working career were glaring. “With the pedigree of the 40-year-old daughter of late radical Ahmadu Bello University history professor; there is hope that the port industry is set to be repositioned to effectively play its role as a key revenue earner for the country, especially at this period when the price of Nigeria’s main revenue generator, oil is at its lowest in over ten years”, Ismail Aniemu, a Publisher of Maritime Journal said.