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We Streamline Vessel Boarding to Tackle Corruption- PSTT



We Streamline Vessel Boarding to Tackle Corruption- PSTT

… As Presidency approves inclusion of Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps in PSTT***

The Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) says streamlining boarding of vessels at Nigerian ports by government agencies is aimed at tackling corruption.

The National Coordinator of the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), an enforcement arm of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Comrade Moses Fadipe, said this in Lagos on Wednesday.

Fadipe said during a courtesy visit to the newly appointed Lagos State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Commandant Usman Alfadarai.

We Streamline Vessel Boarding to Tackle Corruption- PSTT

He noted that the Presidency had also approved the inclusion of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in the PSTT.

According to him, agencies that partake in vessel inspection include: Port Health, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Department of State Services (DSS).

He said boarding of ships at Nigerian ports in the past was a free for all affair, but presently agencies allowed to check visiting ships must carry out their activities within a timeline.

“There are some agencies like the NDLEA, DSS and even the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) that board at their convenience but will adhere to the rule of the game.

“When boarding, there is a muster point where you de-robe yourself, the only thing following you into the ship is an identity card; any money on you must be dropped.

We Streamline Vessel Boarding to Tackle Corruption- PSTT

“If you are returning from the ship and money is seen on you, we will confiscate it.

“The NDLEA and DSS also board the vessel and spend 30 minutes, if they spend more time than that, it means there is credible intelligence for them to do so,” he said.

He noted that the Corruption Perception Index 2018, in which Nigeria ranked 157 out of the 161 nations in Africa, became a source of worry for the Federal Government, and this gave birth to the Nigerian Ports Process Manual (NPPM).

“This creation of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) on March 3, 2021, led to the combination of Standard Operating Procedure of all agencies at the port and their timelines,” he said.

Fadipe stated that the activities of the PSTT had saved vessel captains 20,000 dollars spent before now.

He said last year, Nigeria won an award in Basel, Switzerland for fighting corruption.

He also said the movement of vessels from Anchorage to berth in Lagos was averagely five hours in the past but had dropped to 90 minutes presently.

While explaining the mandate of the Task Team to the NSCDC.

Fadipe pointed out that PSTT was not drafted to the port to control traffic or port gridlock: “The government asked PSTT to stop the extortion tendencies fueling gridlock and congestion at the ports.

“This was why we later allowed other agencies to come in, we brought in the Police, Customs, FRSC, Lagos government and Local Governments.”

Fadipe urged the NSCDC Commandant to provide a good operational vehicle for the NSCDC team to enable the corp keep up with other members of the team when on sting operations.

Responding, Alfadarai commended the activities of the PSTT and the Nigerian Shippers Council, adding that the activities of the PSTT would no doubt increase ship calls in Nigeria.

He pointed out that it would make Nigerian ports more attractive for business, and that Nigeria would no longer lose businesses to Benin Republic and Lome ports.

“The issue of port congestion and traffic gridlock in Apapa Port was a major challenge in the past, but since the PSTT came in; it has come down.

“We shall support the work of the task team because the key element in our mandate is to assist in the maintenance of peace and order across the nation.

“Lagos State with the largest population is always congested and really needs peace and order, practically, 80 percent of the things we use in the country come through Lagos, so there is need for peace and order at the port,” he said.

He promised to look into the provision of vehicles for the NSCDC team as the assignment was very important.

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FISHING: Maritime expert, Edodo-Emore tasks FG on advantages in ocean resources



FISHING: Maritime expert, Edodo-Emore tasks FG on advantages in ocean resources

A Maritime industry expert, Mrs. Oritsematosan Edodo-Emore, on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to secure and harness the advantages of the nation’s ocean resources.

Edodo-Emore, Chairman, Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd., made her observation in Lagos, stressing that illegal, undocumented and unregulated fishing that occurs in the country‘s waterways needed to be checked, in addition to securing the ocean resources.

“The competition facing the Nigerian fishermen in the fishing industry in Nigeria is enormous. One is that industrial fishing organisations from different continents come to take advantage of our oceans.

“It requires us to be alert, our security apparatus needs to be alive and alert to make sure that our oceans and its resources are protected.

“It is important for government to know that there is need to educate and train its people, to be able to take advantage of the ocean resources.

“And so, we need for the Ministry of Agriculture, the minister in charge of fishing, to work with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and security forces to protect our oceans,” she said.

She noted that it was important to ensure the use of technology to address some of the challenges confronting the fishing industry such as catching fish, storage and preservation.

She also said that effective storage of fishes makes it readily available for sale at any point in time.

“Technology will ensure our fishes move out of the country but unfortunately, many of our fishermen are artisanal and we need to move from artisanal to industrial fishing.

“In doing this, requires training, involvement of government, push and support from them. It also requires collaboration with other countries.

“The fishermen are already in associations. What needs to be done is to bring technology to that association and support them,” she said.

She noted that these issues affecting fishing and fisheries as well as the country’s ocean resources would be addressed at the Maritime Business Roundtable Breakfast Meeting (MBRBM), scheduled for April 13 at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island.

According to her, the aim of the MBRBM is to bring users and suppliers of Nigerian maritime and aquacultural services together to share ideas and explore opportunities in Nigeria’s Blue Economy.

She listed some notable personalities for the roundtable including Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director General of NIMASA, Abisola Olusanya, Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Benedette Okonkwo, President, Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA) and many others.

The benefits of the meeting are: visibility, growth, networking, impartation and exchange of knowledge and solutions.

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SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice



SON vows to checkmate quackery in management system practice

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has mapped out plans to get rid of quacks involved in management system practice in the country.

Its Director-General, Malam Farouk Salim, made this known on Thursday at a one-day stakeholders’ engagement for the National Register for Conformity Assessment Practitioners (NRCAP) in Lagos.

Salim said the move would put an end to unscrupulous individuals who shortchanged companies and individuals.

According to him, the quacks lacked the required competency to operate in the management system space.

Salim said that conformity assessment practice was central to the sustenance of commercial success and continuity in all sectors.

He said that management system practitioners were vital toward ensuring that practices carried out by the industries “are in alignment with the international best practice in terms of the expectations of existing conformity assessment standards”.

“It is in view of the importance of the authenticity and traceability of products and services to meet the requirements of relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards and other approved specifications.

“SON seeks to pursue the implementation of Part II, Section 4(d) and Part III, Section 5 of the SON Act No.14 of 2015.

“Via the operation of the NRCAP scheme, in order to establish a directory of verified and registered Conformity Assessment Practitioners in Nigeria for all laboratories, management system consultants, Training Service Providers, Certification bodies, inspection bodies, inspectors, auditors and assessors.”

He said that lack of regulation of activities of the practitioners over the years had negatively impacted the industry and country significantly.

Salim listed other impacts including: “poor protection of genuine practitioners, unhealthy competition, poor visibility and recognition of genuine and competent practitioners capable of attracting patronage.

“Others are poor value for money for unsuspecting customers patronising quacks who deliver poor services.”

He also said that lack of official register of competent practitioners to aid national planning and coordination of economic activities that border on standardisation and quality assurance was also a challenge to the growth of the economy.

“This engagement is guided by the strategic collaboration/partnership that SON shares with various organisations over time, especially with the SON Management Systems Certification and Training Services Departments with which you interface through your customers, of which you are expected to bring to bear, your wealth of experience to this national call,” he said.

The SON director-general said that the registration processes, including approved guidelines, expectations of benchmarking Conformity Assessment standards and interests while developing the documents, were taken into consideration to ensure that impartiality of the process was assured.

He said that adequate training was given to the practitioners to boost their service delivery.

Earlier, Bode Oke, the First President, Society for Management System Practitioners of Nigeria, said the group would join hands with SON to stem quackery in the system to ensure that consumers get value for money they spent.

Oke said: “We are here to gain more knowledge and to join SON in the registration of all management system practitioners.

“We are going to partner with SON to ensure that the exercise is successful because we have a lot of companies practicing management systems that are not trained and competent.

“We are working together with SON to ensure that we remove all those incompetent people from the system.

“So that whenever a client approaches practitioners for registration, the client will know that he will not be shortchanged and get value for the money spent,” he said.

Oke said that the roles of system practitioners were vital in business growth and development.

He stressed that the system practitioners were responsible for taking companies through quality management systems certification, environmental management system certification, occupational health and safety certification and food management system certification.

“The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has established standards for all management systems.

“And, therefore, anyone that would lead companies to obtain this certification must be competent.

“This is why SON is regulating all the auditors, consultants and even, the certification bodies because we have some certification bodies coming from outside the country that are not competent, so competency is the key word here,” he said.

In her remarks, Patricia Solarin, a Consultant in the Quality Management System Practice, said that standardisation was germane for industrial development.

Solarin said: “There are so many briefcase-carrying consultants that are going around duping clients and most of these consultants did not even pass their audit test and examination.

“Without standardisation or regulations, it will be difficult to stop the quacks. A lot of companies are being shortchanged, because people taking them through certification do not really know much.

“So, SON is trying to register auditors and consultants, which is a welcome development to ensure that people get value for their hard money spent.”

She commended the leadership style of Salim for taking a bold step to tackle the challenges, urging the government to support SON to achieve greater feats.

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NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses



NECA wants FG to tackle challenges stifling businesses

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to demonstrate commitment to addressing monetary and fiscal policy challenges stifling businesses.

The NECA Director-General,  Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde,  made the call in a statement on Thursday in Lagos, listing such challenges as foreign exchange dichotomy, fuel subsidies, multiple taxations, among others.

He made the call, just as he commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and government for embracing dialogue to avert the nationwide strike by the workers’ union earlier scheduled to start on March 29.

“The quick response by the government to ease the cash liquidity and the corresponding immediate positive effect on the economy demonstrated that it has the capacity to address policies once it is determined to do so.

“Therefore, we call for similar determination and consultative engagements with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to proffer solutions to business challenges in order to facilitate competitiveness and productivity, “ he said.

He commended the efforts of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, and the Minister of Labour and Employment for personally getting involved.

He also lauded them for monitoring the disbursement to ensure compliance with the bank’s directive to end the cash crunch, of which the economic nerve centre and other areas had started witnessing improvement.

“The CBN has shown goodwill and true support for the ailing economy by immediately disbursing cash to the commercial banks.

“Also, by directing the banks to open beyond their normal working hours to ease the cash crunch in the nation: an action which could have been averted in the first place, “ he said.

Oyerinde, however, warned that the ripple effects of the cash swap policy would linger as it would take considerable time for businesses, especially the informal sector, to recover.

He said that many of them had closed due to low purchasing power of consumers.

The NECA chief said that business activities had stagnated in the last 10 weeks of the implementation of redesigning of the currency policy nationwide.

He said this had led to reduced productive output, high inventory and jobs cut, and impediments to personal and business transactions.

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