INTERVIEW: How we’re saving billions of dollars — NPA boss

Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman,
Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman,

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, said her leadership of the organization has saved billions of dollars for Nigeria through her anti-corruption style of administration.

Speaking with journalists after making a presentation at the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, Mrs Usman also said she made a case for the dredging of the Excravos channel in Warri Delta state. Excerpt:

Q: Why are you at the Villa today?

A: I am at the State House today requesting FEC to approve the dredging works for Escravos channel in Warri; its navigation is a challenge we have had in the Nigerian ports. We need to ensure that the channels into the Warri ports are dredged.

Q: What are the economic implications?

A: It will fundamentally change the fortunes of Warri ports, it will expand the utilisation of our eastern ports, we believe in the need to ensure that all ports locations are given the seamless access by providing dredging works and that is what we are here to do today.

Q: So what have you been able to achieve so far?

A: We have been able to execute transparency and eliminate corrupt practices, we serve the need to ensure that whatever government leaves with an entity there is full compliance.

We have noted the Treasury Single Account, we have had entities complied to the TSA, we have also made our budget very transparent. We believe in building institutions and we have done tremendous work in deploying Human Resources capacities within our systems.

Q: Is corruption fighting back in that direction?

A: Oh definitely corruption is pushing back, it fights back all the time. We have had instances where corruption is pushing back and we have remained resolute with the support of Mr. President in assisting us to fight corrupt practices in Nigerian Ports Authority.

Q: How much have you saved since you have been doing this?

A: I will say we have saved billions of dollars in terms of ensuring that corrupt practices are eliminated. One of the key things the government has been able to do is to remove the monopoly of the oil and gas cargo. Now in the Nigerian oil and gas you are able to take cargoes anywhere leading to any location in the country.

Hitherto designated terminals got priority considerations to the extent that only those terminals had access to oil and gas cargo which made exploration of oil and gas in the country very expensive. This has tremendously assisted, we have saved billions and billions of dollars in crude exploration following the removal of the monopoly by President Muhammadu Buhari of oil and gas cargo designation.

Q: So what’s responsible for the increment in revenue generation in NPA?

A: It has to do with ensuring that debts are paid, ensuring that there is full compliance and deployment of the Treasury Single Account. These are the things we have been able to do to block revenue leakages and ensure that we have seamless accounting processes.

Q: What of Calabar Port?

A: On Calabar Port, we have also reached an advanced stage for the procurement of the dredging works for Calabar. We had inherited a system that did not go through the relevant processes which we terminated. We are now almost concluding Calabar and we will also come and seek Federal Executive Council’s consideration for that.

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