The ICPC has been praised for its port sector interventions

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been lauded for the port reforms it implemented in Nigeria.

The award was given at a recent Maritime Stakeholders meeting in London, in recognition of the ease with which maritime activities can be carried out in Nigerian ports, as well as the turnaround time for cargo clearance and the effectiveness of Nigerian ports.

The meeting, which drew 133 people from all over the world, was organized by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) to learn about ICPC initiatives at Nigerian ports that led to the sector’s most recent triumphs, as well as the systems put in place by the Nigerian government to address the industry’s concerns and trends.

Prof Bolaji Owasanoye SAN of the ICPC and Hon. Emmanuel Jime of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council led the Nigerian delegation.

Professor Owasanoye stressed the importance of the marine sector to the Nigerian economy, as well as the need for the ICPC to intervene to make Nigerian ports more competitive and efficient.

The development and harmonization of Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs), the establishment of a complaint mechanism in the form of the Ports Service Support Portal, the development of the Nigeria Ports Process Manual, and the establishment of the Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT), which was the compliance and enforcement arm of the interventions, were among the interventions engendered by ICPC in collaboration with other ports stakeholders.

Despite these reforms, the ICPC chairman said that there were still pockets of issues to be addressed, such as the issue of malfeasance in the Ports Corridor, where cleared cargos are delayed by illegitimate checking sites outside ports.

Assuring the MACN delegates that no transgression at Nigerian ports would go unpunished, he emphasized the Commission’s determination to combat corruption and anything else that would “constitute a drag on the attainment of Ports Reform’s goal.”

“Corruption Risk Assessment and System Study and Review will be conducted periodically to engender efficiency of the port while mainstreaming compliance on mitigating plans, while the Commission will join other stakeholders in removing all illegal checkpoints and allowing free flow of cargoes and sericulture,” Professor Owasanoye said.

In his statement, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council listed the functions and operations of the Council that led to the federal government designating the Council as the Port Economic Regulator.

The meeting’s highlight was the PSTT study, which all foreign port players present recognised as a game-changer in making Nigerian ports more efficient. The PSTT’s enforcement actions have helped to address the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that have arisen in Nigerian ports, resulting in a significant reduction in vessel turnaround time.

Delegates from Egypt and Bangladesh recommended that the methods that led to Nigeria’s success story be repeated in their nations, citing the PSTT’s demonstration of the ease of doing business at Nigerian ports.

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