With UNDP support, Nigeria moves to improve service delivery in the port sector

Jun 23, 2016

Representatives of various government ministries, departments and agencies attend the launch of the SOPs and Service portal in Abuja. (Photo, UNDP Nigeria/Lucky Musonda)

In an effort to enhance operational efficiency in the delivery of services within the country’s port sector, Nigeria has launched harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of all Agencies and Operators at the country’s Seaports. 

“It will be recalled that this milestone achievement started with our desire to produce a Port Process Manual to guide Operations of the personnel of the various Government Agencies, Operators, Stakeholders and the General Public at Nigerian Ports in order to enhance efficiency by reducing unwholesome practices in the Nigerian Port System.” Stated Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport, during the launch of the SOPs and the Port Service Support Portal (PSSP).

The development of the SOPs and service portal (PSSP) follows recommendations made in the Corruption Risk Assessment report was launched on the 9th of December, 2013. Implementation of recommendations from CRA has been coordinated by the Project Steering Committee Chaired by the then Federal Ministry of Transport which was set up in 2014.

The SOPs, a set of written instructions, captures and clarifies work processes, acts as a management support tool that spells out control measures to ensure integrity during the operations of the different departments in the port sector. It also serves as a guide to the general public in their dealings with an agency, department or Company at the port. “The SOP helps to establish operational standards, fosters accountability and thus will serve as a corruption prevention tool.” Emphasized the minister.

The PSSP is a Central Mechanism for Service Support and Pre-emptive Resolution of Service impediments brought forward by Users; an on-line real time Public Complaints/Redress Mechanism. It will be useful in understanding challenges that port users face as they interact with service providers. Feedback from the users will be used to improve on the efficiency of the sector and also provide a platform for confidential information sharing between the port users and the service providers on challenges being encountered while doing business at the ports.

The SOPs and PSSP were officially launched by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who emphasized that “in the face of dwindling revenue from oil, the Federal Government is more than ever determined to; prevent leakages, remove impediments to trade and investments, and making our Ports more competitive by pushing its Anti-Corruption and economic diversification drive to a logical conclusion.” The vice president charged that port sector players to do all that is required to achieve 48-Hour Clearance of Vessels and Cargoes, and to make Nigerian Ports efficient, cost effective and competitive to the extent of becoming a Regional Trade Hub.

Professor Osinbajo thanked UNDP for the continued support in improving public sector service provision capacities and enhancing government’s fight against corruption in the country. The vice president went on to state that it was not enough to have integrity platforms in place, they must be fully implemented. “Chief Executive Officers are hereby directed to send their Letters of Commitment on the Implementation of the SOP and the PSSP to the Honourable Minister of Transportation. The CEOs will be held accountable for any lapses, and of course, will be commended for the success and quality of services rendered by the personnel of their Agencies. He added.

Takwa Zebulon, Peace and Development Advisor, who represented the Country Director, Pa Lamin Beyai, at the launch, stated that UNDP remained committed to supporting government efforts because “we believe that with effective system and an enabling environment, Nigeria’s corruption perception index can improve positively and Nigerian Ports will not only render statutory services, but become the preferred hub for the sub-region.” He added that that an efficient and effective port sector had potential to positively contribute to the ease of doing business and can be a good source and revenue and act as stimulant for the diversification of the economy.

UNDP has been providing both technical and financial support during CRA process and continues to work closely with the Steering Committee and other MDAs in support government efforts aimed at enhancing public service delivery and fighting corruption.

Going forward, UNDP will continue to support efforts of the government aimed at improving public service delivery and institutional reforms in order to improve not just the economy but also the lives of millions of Nigerians.