Godfrey Bivbere & Bolaji Ajala
22 February 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – In a bid to fightillegal charges in the shipping industry, Nigeria Shipper’s Council (NSC) says efforts are on to review the laws of the Council.
This is coming on the heels of complaints of exorbitant and illegal tariffs, charges for storage facilities, container deposit returns by operators and shippers in the country
Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who disclosed this, said the Council is in the process of amending the enabling laws to give it the power of prosecution.
Bello explained that NSC is trying to make Nigeria more proactive in providing services to importers’ and as a result, has negotiated with shipping companies on so many occasions about exorbitant and illegal charges.
On the issue of a regulator for the industry, he said the Council has solved a lot of problems for shippers, adding that they have been receiving complaints from operators too.
“We are therefore the regulators of the industry. We have received complaints from operators, especially from shippers who had to abandon their cargoes at the ports or who were unwilling to clear their cargoes from the ports (as a result of high or illegal charges) and we have taken action to correct that.”
He said that the Federal Government is using transportation to emphasize its seriousness for international trade, adding that the Council is creating a conducive atmosphere for operation of shipping and transport, so that they will be translated into economic gains for the country.
Bello further started that if the budget for the year is analysed, it will underscore the seriousness which government attached to the maritime industry, adding that the Federal Government has made landmark economic decisions that will translate to realisable projects.
In his words “The transport systems of any society reflect the seriousness of such country to the development of its economy.
So transportation is very important to the development of this country.”
He also noted that the Inland Container Deports (ICDs), which will soon come into operation are expected to solve once and for all the perennial issue of port congestions, adding that the issues in the ICDs are meant to place Nigeria strategically as not only a partner but an important and serious member of the world economy as far as transportation is concerned.
“The ICDs will start operation very soon because the Federal Ministry of Transport has been working diligently to make ICDs work. We have one or two problems of appropriate legal framework.”