According to the Federal Ministry of Transportation, N180 million has been approved for the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) to fight corruption and prevent other maritime crimes at the nation’s seaports.
Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, stated this at the 3rd roundtable on Maritime Sector Reforms: “Consolidating the Gains,” held in Lagos on Wednesday.
The roundtable was organized by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and the Convention on Business Integrity (CBI).
Ajani was represented by Babatunde Sule, who stated that the Federal Government directed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to provide funds and operational vehicles for the PSTT.
Ajani added that the government agencies were directed to provide N60 million each for the Port Standing Task Team to continue the anti-corruption crusade across the nation’s ports.
“Port administration policy is such that port users can demand, track, and ensure greater compliance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) by government agencies.”
“As a result, the number of instances of corrupt demands for vessel clearance has decreased.”
‘Government capacity to establish policy on compliance systems and collaborate with the private sector and civil society to improve trade flows and ease of doing business is being strengthened,’ she said.
She stated that the ministry, through the NSC, the Technical Unit on Government and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR), and other agencies, Nigeria was poised to strengthen its position by further institutionalizing and continuously sustaining its reforms.
Mr Moses Fadipe, the National Coordinator of PSTT, confirmed the task team’s operations approval, adding that only the NSC, as the lead agency, had responded to the government’s instruction.
He revealed that other agencies, including NIMASA and NPA, had yet to respond, and the PSTT had not received anything from them.
In recent years, the Nigerian maritime sector has made significant strides toward promoting efficiency and transparency, according to Fadipe.
“The PSTT has played an important role in transforming the sector through commendable monitoring and enforcement of adherence to the provisions of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual, as well as in the discharge of other ancillary mandates.”
“The task team’s interventions have resulted in a reduction in inefficiencies and corruption, as well as a positive impact on the economy.”
“Strict monitoring and enforcement of joint boarding of vessels procedure, transparency in monitoring, strict monitoring of joint cargo examinations, and the dismantling of illegal checkpoints and extortion points have all contributed to the improvement of the sector,” he said.