FG okays eight agencies for ports’ operations, shuts out NAFDAC, SON


Despite resolution by the House of Representative on Tuesday directing Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, and National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, to return to the ports, the Federal Government Wednesday reiterated its earlier stance that eight agencies, excluding the above two are to operate from the ports.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Performance Monitoring and Evaluation which was signed by Chuks Iloegbunam, said only the earlier seven agencies announced by Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, including National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, that was later cleared, are  to operate in the nation’s ports.

The statement gave the names of the other seven agencies as Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS and Nigeria Police. Others are States Security Service, SSS, Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, and Port Health Authority, PHA.

The statement read in parts, “The attention of the Presidential committee on Ports Reforms has been drawn to reports in the National Dailies, stating that the House of Representatives wants certain federal agencies ousted from operating at the ports in the ongoing de-congestion exercise.

“The report also claimed that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, had withdrawn the said agencies from the ports without presidential clearance.”

It also stressed that the above claim is untrue as everything said by the Minister had the express approval of the President. It further explained that at no time did government rescind its decision to restrict the number of agencies in the ports in line with the aspiration of maritime stakeholders.

It further noted that “For the avoidance of doubts, all pronouncements made by the Finance Minister and all actions taken by the Committee on Ports Reforms issued directly from the approval of the President who set up the Ports Reforms committee in the first place.

“At no time did the Finance Minister take any action on the ports not expressly authorized by the President. Beyond that, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) which was among the agencies initially asked out of the ports since returned following the rescinding of the presidential order that kept them out.

“All other bodies can now only enter the ports and operate in them on the basis of specific invitation and as the need arises. The position will remain uncharged unless and until the President directs otherwise.”

It will be recalled that the federal government through the Minister of finance had ordered the reduction of the number of agencies in the port from about 13 in October last year to seven before the inclusion of NAFDAC that brought the number to eight.

Operators in the maritime industry have been crying out against the activities of multiplicity of government agencies in the port until the action in October which operators welcomed with a lot of excitement.

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FG okays eight agencies for ports’ operations, shuts out NAFDAC, SON