The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko has assured that the management under his watch is working towards repositioning the nation’s seaports and the authority for greater efficiency, safety and accountability.
The Managing Director, who spoke at the just concluded strategic retreat organised for the top management cadre, said that the authority is poised to create and sustain competitive advantage by offering best- in class port operations, saying that the event was designed to strategise and craft smart actionable steps.
This, according to him, is with a view to ensuring growth, competitiveness and future readiness of the nation’s seaport systems, which he described as germane.
He further disclosed that as part of efforts to position the agency towards greater efficiency, safety and accountability, the management has outlined factors that would enhance such prospects as well as capacity to garner greater market share; which include infrastructural renewal and expansion, the introduction of barge operations and the automation of truck transit through the electronic call up system.
Others include improvement in the sources of revenue and collection, plugging income leakages and reducing overhead costs, elimination of monopolistic conduct, formulation and implementation of policies aimed at incentivizing patronage of the eastern ports and encouraging competition.
The management is also keeping up with the dictates of Consolidated Revenue (Fund) and Fiscal Responsibility Act, compliance with international best practice, elimination of red tape, boosting workers’ morale and capacity building, among others.
The MD said these initiatives have 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.
He said, “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.
“I therefore expect that this retreat churns out specific, realistic, measurable, achievable and time-bound goals and objectives by which we would be benchmarking ourselves into the next five years.
“The Authority’s vision of becoming the leading port in Africa is achievable, but we must never forget the seminal words of organisational behaviours expert, Professor Lee Bolman that a vision without strategy remains an illusion. I say this to underscore the importance of this retreat.
“The last time an event of this magnitude was held to chart a new direction for the Authority was over a decade ago where our 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.”
Bello Koko also pointed out that the disruptions caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic present a learning curve, especially for organisations such as NPA that operate in a sector that is 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 and 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 maximize the economies of scale that come with them shows that the ongoing efforts to have deep seaports in Lekki, Badagry and Akwa Ibom, among others, are steps in the right direction.
“In the meantime, we are constantly scaling up our responsibility of dredging our channels to safely berth vessels of reasonable sizes whilst encouraging the use of flat bottom vessels (FBV) in areas of low draught.
“Let me seize this moment to remind us that our drive towards attaining the compliance status for Quality Management System (ISO 9001), Environment Management System (ISO 14001) as well as Occupational Health and Safety Management System (ISO 45001) is no fluke, and all hands must be on deck to make it a reality,” the NPA boss said.
He assured that the current management would leave no stone unturned in its commitment to implement the outcome of the retreat.
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 while the Executive Director Engineering, Prof. Idris Abubakar was honoured with the exemplary leadership award.
Others include the outstanding contribution award bestowed on the Executive Director, Marine and Operations Hon. Onari Brown, Assistant General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Planning, Ngozi Obikili got the outstanding Strategic Retreat Coordinator award even as Port Manager, Lagos Ports Complex, Mrs Olufunmilayo Olotu got the best performing Port Manager.
The Technical Assistant Admin to the Managing Director (former Port Manager Onne) Ismaila Alhassan got the most inspirational Port Manager award, Port Manager, Tin Can Island Port Complex, Yunusa Anji got the most resourceful Port Manager while General Manager, Marine & Operations, Captain Jerome Angyunwe was awarded with the Most Innovative General Manager.
The General Manager Procurement, Musa Yaro was presented with the Most Inspirational General Manager award while the General Manager, Tariff and Billing, Abubakar Umar and General Manager, Human Resources Mrs Hariratu Mohammed were awarded with the Most Insightful General Manager and Most Enterprising General Manager awards respectively.
While commenting on the awards of excellence presented at the end of the retreat, the Managing Director admonished participants not to regard the retreat as a jamboree but an avenue for further improvements and to reposition the organisation for competitiveness and innovativeness.