By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Shipping Trade Practitioners Association of Nigeria (STPAON) has said that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) contained in the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM) being implemented by the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) headed by Nigerian Shippers Council are all one-sided.
Acting Public Relations Officer of STPAON, Dr Babalola Olatunde disclosed this in Rivers State at a recent stakeholders meeting organized by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI)
He alleged that a One-sided SOPs of government agencies is currently being enforced on port users without the SOPs from the Liner/Shipping Companies, Shipping Agents operations.
According to him, these, if provided will form the parameters which could be used to checkmate infractions and also determine corrupt practices without prejudice.
“Where are the SOP from the terminal operators, shipping agents, Liner operators and the MWUN?
“We need an all inclusive SOPs to eradicate corruption or corrupt practices in our ports.Thus, we call on the federal government via ministry of transportation, NPA, NSC and NIMASA to answer this clarion call for peace , prosperity and better Nigeria of our dream” he said
Dr Olatunde also urged government agencies and anti-corruption crusaders to go beyond organizing periodic jamborees and taking plenty of notes and resolutions which were usually not utilized in the end.
He noted that casualization of workers is one of the root cause of corruption at the ports, as a result of low wages or Pay-as-you-go approach being practiced by shipping companies in Nigeria.
He insinuated that the PSTT interventions and successes are still a work-in-progress, even though it is being adopted by other countries to solve corruption at their ports.
He also said that because of the peculiarities of the ports, the interventions of the team have not been largely successful at the eastern ports like it did at Lagos ports.
“I want the federal government agencies, transparency and anti-corruption crusaders like MACN, CBI and port economic regulator to raise up to the challenge of reforming the maritime sector holistically without prejudice.
“We all must also take to our hearts the peculiarities in the Eastern ports as challenges that need to be addressed to boost patronage and also help reduce corruption or corrupt practices in the maritime sector in Nigeria.
“Western ports differed in status and modus operandi, which gave room for easier adjustment and workability of government policies, conventions, ease of doing business and other SOPs to yield results, which other nations of the world now copy as a model to restructure their own maritime business.
“However, in Nigeria we all agreed that it is still a work in progress considering the outcomes, infractions incidents and resolved for the sake of change and compliance with anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria.
“We hereby call on the federal government, agencies and all stakeholders to do the needful by placing all hands on deck for a better Nigeria today, tomorrow and the future” he said