Barth Ndubuwah,Port Harcourt
Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA),has threatened to auction abandoned vessels blocking its water channels to ease navigation, if at the end of the ultimatum given to their owners they refuse to remove them.The Managing Director of NPA,Hadiza Bala-Usman issued the threat Thursday at Onne,Rivers State during the 2018 first quarter of the Authority’s meeting with stakeholders in the maritime industry.
Represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration,Mohammed Bello-Koko,the MD lamented the extent of obstruction and damage such wrecks have cost NPA operationally. She vowed to recover any cost incurred by NPA in the course of removing such wrecks from the vessel owners.Bala-Usman frowned at a situation where wreckages narrow water channels to the peril of vessels and maritime operators in Nigeria.
She informed operators that more tugboats have been procured and are being refurbished ,awaiting deployment to ports across the country. She also said that upon federal government’s approval,pilotage-cutters have been procured and will soon be deployed to ports in the country.
She informed the gathering that NPA has not increased its charges in recent times and promised to look into the complaint of arbitrary rates/charges by some concessionaires.
On security, the MD said though it does not fall under direct purview of NPA,but it collaborates with security agencies to tackle sea piracy and secure the waterways.
She assured the stakeholders that arrangements have been concluded to provide steady power and water to the ports.
The MD tasked Port Managers and Corporate Affairs Officers to make their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) a priority by discussing with their host communities,with a view to giving them sense of belonging.
Adding his voice to the matter, the Executive Director, Marine Operations, Sokonte Davies said the current management of NPA keeps its promises,noting that the Federal Government’s directive on ease of doing business in the country is key to NPA.
He assured the people that NPA will continue to intervene in challenges confronting the maritime industry in the country.
Earlier in his opening speech,the Onne Port Manager, Alhassan Abubakar had commended the MD of NPA for embracing the quarterly stakeholders forum, which he said has enhanced productivity at the ports.. According to him ,this has grown gross tonnage to 42,903,447MT from 39,867,311MT of cargo at Onne Port.
He enumerated some projects embarked up by his administration to include, illumination of access gates,rehabilitation of fire service building at FLT and FOT,Onne. Others he said include, rehabilitation of Administrative building and access road to Onne Port Complex,among others.
Abubakar thanked the NPA Managing Director for her commitment towards realization of the Federal Government order on ease of doing business in Nigeria. He assured that Onne Port under his watch will support her achieve the desired result in enhancing the revenue base of the nation.
The event also witnessed question and answer session, with stakeholders baring their minds on some of the challenges confronting the maritime industry.