The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has urged government agencies at the ports to intensify collaboration in order to promote transparency and integrity in port operations.
The Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, made the plea when a delegation from the commission visited the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday.
Magu, who was represented by the commission’s Director of Public Enlightenment, Mrs Rashidat Okowa, said the collaboration had started in 2013.
The collaboration, he said, followed a research conducted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Corruption and Risk Assessment.
He said that the ICPC had released a report in collaboration with the Technical Unit on Governors and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGA) and Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) which recommended development of Standard Operating Procedures by the agencies.
“The procedures should be transparent to enable stakeholders to hold government agencies accountable if they failed to comply with their own procedures,’’ he said.
Standard Operating Procedures, Magus said, would check arbitrariness.
“It was also stated in the recommendations that government agencies at the ports should have anti-corruption policies while there should be greater synergy among them,” Magu added.
The EFCC boss also said that there was the need for government agencies at the ports to engage in joint cargo clearance to avoid accumulation of demurrage that could be incurred as a result of delay.
He said that the follow- up of the continuous implementation of Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) was in line with the Presidential Order on Ease of Doing Business at the Ports.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that the council had constituted a committee to ensure that operators complied with the presidential order.
Bello, who was represented by the Director of Legal Services of NSC, Samuel Vontau, pledged the council’s readiness to cooperate with the EFCC in order to reduce the time of doing business in Nigerian ports.
He, however, urged government to increase the council’s budget to enable it to achieve its target of making Nigerian ports user-friendly.