The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the interim economic regulator for the port industry, has solicited for the collaboration of port operators and agencies involved in port operations towards enabling the council effectively transform Nigerian seaport to a user-friendly port.
Hassan Bello, executive secretary of NSC, who made this call in Lagos at a recent interactive session, assured industry players that the council’s role as a regulatory agency would protect the investments of the seaport terminal operators from undue interference, improve government revenue generation, improve infrastructural development and reduce the cost of doing business.
The NSC boss, who said effective regulation would improve delivery of marine and terminal handling services which will result to reduced turnaround time of vessels and reduction in the costs of vessels’ operations, urged the stakeholders and other regulatory agencies to support the council in making Nigerian ports the sub-regional hub.
Economic regulation, he said, focused on market rules, tariffs, quality of service, access and incentives regulation. “Our role is to consult, coordinate, moderate and harmonise the various processes and procedures with a view to achieving operational efficiency at our ports. Where there is unreasonable resistance, we shall not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions to ensure compliance. We shall remain open, independent, neutral, and consultative while all decisions will be based on the buy-in of stakeholders,” he said.
Reacting to this, Kunle Folarin, chairman, Ports Consultative Council (PCC), urged the council to carry everyone along by always engaging stakeholders in an interactive forum, which will enable it succeed in delivery its mandates.
He advised the council to embark on a speedy implementation of its new roles, commitments and technical competence while operating within the ambit of the law, adding that it should sought an enabling law that would assist it in discharging its mandate.
“There is the need to give the council more powers to discharge stakeholders’ expectations on its economic regulatory roles,” Folarin said.
Recall that the Federal Government mandated the council to monitor and correct any disorder against the workings of a free market to address anti-competition behaviour. The council was also mandated to close the existing gap in the port sector by creating a level-playing field for all maritime stakeholders to operate.