Uche Usim, Abuja
In a concerted effort aimed at addressing various infractions at seaports across the country, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday pledged to deepen their collaboration, especially in the area of awareness creation.
The collaboration will also ensure that complaints lodged at the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) are quickly and effectively resolved in order to make Nigerian ports more attractive and globally competitive.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ conference on service delivery coordinated by the Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Organization Limited, Mr. Soji Apampa, in Abuja, representatives of various maritime agencies and port stakeholders said there was need for all port users to use of the portal for improved ease of doing business, increased GDP and effective service delivery
The Deputy Director, Head of Complaints Unit, of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Moses Fadipe, said the portal since establishment in 2016 has recorded only 400 cases, adding that the hit is low arising from the low awareness of the portal.
On what may have accounted for the low patronage of the portal, he said: “Prior to the establishment of PSSP, there were other platforms like Whatsapp, SMS and email that operators were using and so most of them are still glued to those platforms.
“We receive about 30 mails per day on complaints which translates to 1000 per month and if PSSP is just recording about 400 since 2016 that means that the awareness is very low.
According to him, people are often ready to shift or they are more comfortable with the existing platforms, adding: “that is why we said that the awareness has to be popped up because it is from the PSSP that you can get the size of the industry infractions as a one-stop-shop.”
He called for greater transparency and the adoption of the right procedures in communication, enforcement and resolution of issues.
In his remarks, the Director-General of NIMASA, Mr. Peterside Dakuku, who was represented by Capt David Oboma, said both the private and public players need more information which the portal provides.
He added that the agency as a regulator operates through the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) because of the Act setting it up.
Peterside called for the downscaling of the PSSP to accommodate lower-level operators in the sector, stressing that awareness must be engaging and sustained.
The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Oluwasanya, who was represented by one of his Directors at the commission, admitted that grievances by parties should be channeled through the website and resolved at the ports.
He said such complaints can only be escalated to the commission when the agencies and operators are unable to resolve them.
The DG said the website was launched by the Vice President, Prof, Yemi Osinbajo, in 2016 across the country, stressing that the low patronage stemmed from lack of publicity by agencies that are supposed to be involved in its propagation.
In an earlier remark, Apampa, said the deployment of the software was initiated by the federal government in 2016 as mechanism to resolve online, real-time, one-stop-shop to resolve complaints by port operators within 72 hours.