By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, has pledged management’s determination to reposition the nation’s seaports for greater efficiency, safety and accountability.
Bello-Koko made the pledge in a statement signed by Mr Olaseni Alakija, General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications, on Monday in Lagos.
The Acting MD, while speaking at the just-concluded strategic retreat organised for NPA top management, said that the organisation was currently poised to creating and sustaining competitive advantage by offering its best in port operations.
The statement said that the retreat was designed to allow management staff to strategise and come up with “smart actionable steps“.
This, according to Bello-Koko, is with the view to ensuring growth, competitiveness and future readiness of the nation’s seaport systems.
“As part of efforts to position the agency towards greater efficiency, safety and accountability, the management has outlined factors that will enhance such prospects, as well as the capacity to garner greater market share.
“This will include infrastructural renewal and expansion, the introduction of barge operations, automation of truck transit through the electronic call up system and improvement in the sources of revenue and collection.
“Others include plugging income leakages and reducing overhead costs, elimination of monopolistic conduct, formulation and implementation of policies aimed to incentivise patronage of the Eastern Ports and encouraging competition,” he said.
Bello-Koko said that management was also keeping up with the dictates of Consolidated Revenue Fund and Fiscal Responsibility Act, compliance with international best practices, elimination of red tape, boosting workers’ morale and capacity building, among others.
He disclosed that these initiatives had laid the groundwork for some milestones with great potential for more as some of the reforms continue to transform into success evidenced by improved cargo throughput and revenue growth.
“Because excellence is a moving target, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels, we must redouble our commitment to continuous improvement as an organisational culture.
“Surpassing internal and external stakeholders’ expectations, which constitute a cardinal objective of this management, will require your unalloyed support as heads of directorates, divisions, locations, departments, port sections and units.
Bello-Koko said he expected that the retreat would churn out specific, realistic, measurable, achievable and time-bound goals and objectives by which NPA would be benchmarking itself in the next five years.
He said that the last time an event of this magnitude was held to chart a new direction for NPA was over a decade ago where the organisation’s present vision, mission and core values were crafted.
“We must, therefore, go beyond rhetoric to churn out implementable strategies aimed at making us equal to the exigencies of the very competitive edge and sector that we operate in,” he said.
Bello Koko pointed out that the disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic present a learning curve, especially for organisations such as NPA that operate in a sector that was global in scope to be constantly ready for dynamics in the form of increasing competition and innovation.
“Improving the turnaround time of vessels and reducing cargo dwell time is critical to attracting more vessels to our seaports.
“Optimising the business opportunities that the landlocked countries with whom we share borders presents a critical success factor in actualising our growth projections.
“The need to attract larger vessels and maximally benefit from the economies of scale that come with them show that the ongoing efforts to have deep seaports in Lekki, Badagry and Akwa Ibom, among others, are steps in the right direction,” he said.
He noted that in the meantime, NPA is constantly scaling up its responsibility of dredging the country’s channels to safely berth vessels of reasonable sizes whilst encouraging the use of flat bottom vessels (FBV) in areas of low draught.
He said that the current management would leave no stone unturned in its commitment in implementing the outcome of the retreat.
A highpoint of the event was the presentation of awards of excellence by Renner & Renner, in which the MD was honoured with the visionary leadership award.
The Executive Director Engineering, Prof. Idris Abubakar, was also honoured with the exemplary leadership award. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)