The Convention on Business Integrity has disclosed that shipowners’ operational costs have dropped by 86.67 per cent from $150,000 to $20,000 since 2021.

The anti-corruption group stated that the resolution timeline for cases had also dropped to one hour from eight hours.

The Director of Programme, CBi Nigeria, Mr Emmanuel Bosah, said this on Tuesday at the sensitisation programme for stakeholders on consumer rights and responsibilities in the port and shipping sector organised by the Nigerian Shippers Council in partnership with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

“Since 2021, however, case four resolution timelines have fallen to an average of one–eight hours. For a shipowner, this translates to a significant drop in the operational costs of delayed departure and processing paperwork from approximately $150,000 to $20,000 per port call.”

In his paper presentation titled ‘Ethics and integrity in the port and shipping sector,’ Bosah, said that the introduction of a technology-based grievance reporting mechanism in the form of a Port Service Support Portal and helpdesk operated by the Maritime Anti Corruption Network had empowered port users to report incidences of corruption.

“For example, the introduction of a technology-based grievance reporting mechanism in the form of the Port Service Support Portal and the HelpDesk operated by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, under the current port reform initiative has empowered port users to report incidences of corrupt demands by port officials in real-time and receive timely resolution of complaints. The transparency achieved through the SOPs and NPPM means that port users are now able to demand, track, and ensure greater compliance with SOPs by government service providers,” he noted.

Bosah also said that there had been a steady drop in reports of corruption among port officials.

“As a result of the timely resolution of complaints through the PSSP and Helpdesk led by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, reports of corrupt demands by port officials dropped from a total of 266 in 2019, to 125 cases in 2020, 81 cases in 2021, and 56 cases in 2022.

“The confidence created by the grievance reporting mechanism has also led to an increase in the use of the Helpdesk to register pre-arrival notifications by vessel captains who had previously considered Nigeria a treacherous port state to visit,” he added.

According to Bosah, before the Helpdesk’s operation, case resolution typically took up to 7–10 days, thereby creating opportunities for unscrupulous officials to exploit port users keen to avoid the financial burden that comes with such delays.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr Emmanuel Jime, who was represented at the event by the Director of Human Affairs, NSC, Mrs Adaku Okam, promised to ascertain the challenges of various regulated service providers and users with the intention of proffering solutions to them.

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