The chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Board, Chief Akin Anderson Ricketts, yesterday, said the Eastern corridor seaports are underutilised and must be made to function optimally.
Ricketts stated this after the inauguration of the NPA board by the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi in Abuja yesterday.
Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated board, he indicated that the intractable congestion at the Lagos ports must be dealt with and pledged the board’s full cooperation to enable the NPA deal with the challenges.
According to him, “The major issues confronting our ports today are capacity utilisation and evacuation corridors. While the ports in the East are being grossly underutilized due to many factors, the efficiency of the ports in Lagos is hampered by inadequate evacuation corridors that lead to congestion on the road, which ultimately affects prompt service delivery. This is a challenge that we intend to confront head-on in conjunction with other stakeholders, with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of port users and ease business in the port, as envisaged by the Federal Government.
“We are sure that NPA wouldn’t have its share of challenges and issues that need to be resolved or need immediate attention. We will do that in conjunction with the management and all relevant stakeholders. We will ensure that we give every issue and matter that comes to our attention the consideration it deserves and deal with it fairly and objectively, without favour or ill will.”
Ricketts also promised synergy and effective oversight of the NPA without constituting itself into an alternative management.
“We will create an atmosphere where employees would be given the opportunity to air their views and express dissent on any policy or action they feel strong about. And we will ensure that measures are emplaced so that this process is not unduly abused. We will ensure that feedback mechanisms are in place from our major stakeholders and port users so that we improve on service delivery, efficiency and capacity” he promised further.
Other board members include; Mohammed Koko, Onari Brown, Sen. Binki Garba, Sen. John Udoidighe, Abdullwahab Adeshina, Ghazali Mohammed, Mustapha Aminu Dutse and Prof. Idris Abubakar.
While speaking earlier, the minister told the new board not to run a parallel management.
“It is important you work with the management. It is important you realize you are not the management, you are a board,” Amaechi stated.
He also tasked the new board to ensure smooth operations at the ports, noting that “we are in unusual times but we cannot afford to shut our seaports. Activities must continue.”