By CHIJIOKE OKORONKWO
ABUJA- The collaborative efforts of the Federal Government, the private sector and a civil society group, Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), to curb corruption at the sea-ports has earned international praise.
The collaboration won the first ever “Outstanding Achievement in Collective Action Award” of the Switzerland-based Basel Institute on Governance.
Mr Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
A delegation of the CBi paid a courtesy visitl on Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.
There are joint efforts of the Federal Government agencies – including Shippers Council, Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services, and the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR).
The synergy among the agencies and CBi, through the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), the cost of a ship berthing in Nigeria – often aggravated by unreceipted extortions – has now drastically reduced from 150,000 dollars per vessel that arrives in the country to about 20,000 dollars.
According to the CBi Co-founder, Olusoji Apampa, the success recorded is now attracting international reviews as countries such as Egypt, Ukraine and India are planning to adopt the “Nigerian miracle” model to produce similar gains in their own ports’ operations.
“The international award recognised the work of the Nigerian MACN, which created a real time-based Help Desk to resolve complaints and concerns of shipping companies as soon as they berth at the ports.
“The Swiss-based international body recognised the initiative for the collective action where government, business and civil society have worked together for change.
“This was made possible by the establishment and success recorded by the first ever, real-time Anti-Corruption Help Desk in Nigerian Ports, which instantly reports and resolves corruption-related issues.
“The CBi presented the international award to the Vice President during the courtesy call on Monday and said to him, ‘this would not have been possible without your interventions’,” Apampa said.
Receiving the delegation and the award at the Presidential Villa, Osinbajo praised the CBi and MACN, commending them for their efforts alongside federal government agencies.
He assured that the federal government would continue to support initiatives that improved the business environment and economy in general.
“This is cheery news on our anti-corruption efforts; what is required is to stay focused in the fight against corruption.
“We need to get the attention of the young people also. This is something we have to do,” he charged.
Based on the Executive Order 001, ICPC conducted a successful sting operation in 2019 to support federal government’s port reforms.
In December 2020, the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT), comprising the Shippers Council, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and DSS, was established. (NAN)