Shippers operating in the nation’s seaports have urged the federal government to consider a stronger empowerment of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) as the ports economic regulator.
This, according to them, will put an end to all forms of illegalities being introduced by operators against importers and exporters in the country.
Speaking, the president of the Rivers/ Bayelsa Shippers Association (RIBASA), Mr Ofon Udofia, said empowering the council will play a tremendous role in helping the ports economic regulator to check activities of operators at the nation’s seaports.
While acknowledging that the council has done so well in curtailing the excesses of the service providers over the years, said the NSC would do better with specific stronger regulations.
Udofia said the scenario would change automatically if shippers council was accorded more strong political will and constitutional powers.
He said, “Government should give NSC more power to be able to bite as a regulator. When you are a regulator, you need the powers to bite as you bark. The council needs more power to be able to check the excesses of some shipping companies or terminal operators as regards their charges.
“Government should give them all the backing. It will make shipping companies or whoever to sit up. We want the government to develop strong political will, constitutional power too to make the fear of Shippers’ Council the beginning of compliance. They should be given power to sanction shipping companies and terminal operators who err like what happens in the communications sector where NCC raises the hammer against any erring service provider.”
Commending NSC for having done well in its statutory obligations and promoting trade facilitation, he said, what the council deserves now was more power to bite harder after some level of barking against service providers who are recalcitrant in certain areas.
He argued that the ports economic regulator required strong backing of the law like the NCC to be able to deal with service providers who fail to comply with regulations as obtains in the telecoms sector.