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Importers Flay NPA On Ports Development, Communication

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The Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) has condemned the poor performance of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in the quest to developing the nation’s seaports.

This is coming as the group passed a vote of no confidence on the corporate and strategic communication unit of the agency, which it said has not been on top of its mandate of keeping stakeholders abreast of timely and adequate information.

The President, NIIA, Godwin Onyekazi, in an interview with journalists at the weekend, said the poor performance of the corporate and strategic communication unit of NPA has been a major setback for the organisation.

He said the agency has failed in its promises to rejuvenate the seaports and described the current handlers of NPA’s public affairs and public relations as “incompetent, laid back and out of tune with present day realities.”

He said: “If public relations is about managing reputation; if it is a career that involves gaining an understanding of an organisation’s stakeholders and using that understanding to garner goodwill; if it is about trying to influence the opinion and behaviour of stakeholders in favour of the organization, then one can safely conclude that such practice does not exist in present day NPA.

“That vibrant, proactive and professional NPA public relations practice that we all knew and that set the standard for other government agencies has long vanished. What you see in present day NPA is an armchair and detached PR department. It is neither strategic nor is it in tune with present realities of issues around the organization. The unit has become docile and unresponsive.

“I think the failure of the NPA management to appoint a PR professional to head the unit at the corporate level is a grave mistake that should be reversed as soon as possible,” he said.

According to him, the department has failed to keep stakeholders abreast of information and statistics on industry performance, while it failed to relate and interact with its core sect.

‘‘Ports statistics was not released last year until later when the first and second quarter figures were released. The industry is now awaiting the third quarter statistics. How do you expect the industry to flourish when you failed to parley the necessary stakeholders and roll out important figures that would aid operations. Those appointed of late are those about to retire and they use it as their exit point. This is completely absurd,” he said.

The NIIA president also berated the lack of coordination, the collapsed ports access roads and untidy environment around the Lagos ports facilities, saying these are part of the NPA statutory role, which has been abandoned.

He urged the managing director, Hadiza Bala Usman to wake up to her responsibilities and not allow political and egocentric influencers in the public service to ruin her agenda for the industry.



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