The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) wants the federal government to enhance the powers of the Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC) to enable it serve as a commercial regulator in the maritime industry.
ANLCA National President, Prince Olayiwola Shittu, made the appeal yesterday during a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello.
Shittu explained that the absence of a regulator in the industry has led to what, according to him, are the arbitrary charges by shipping companies, leading to the exploitation of importers and their agents, and, in turn, increasing the cost of doing business at the ports.
“We don’t need any other regulator, but to enhance Shipper’s Council as the regulator in the industry. If the Council were to be the regulator, the level of extortion that is going on in the port today which has become so unbearable cannot continue,” Shittu said.
The ANLCA boss pointed out that the government has been paying lip service for the establishment of a commercial regulator in the industry.
He attributed this to the fact that the Act establishing the Council does not give it the necessary powers to be able to effectively implement and sanction offenders of the law.
“The government has been playing lip service to the maritime industry. Whoever set up the Act establishing Shipper’s Council never did well, because the enforcement arm that will give the agency the power to sanction has been watered down,” he said.
Also speaking, the NSC Executive Secretary admitted that the Council is not happy with the arbitrary increase in shipping charges, but assured that it will negotiate with the concerned parties and ensure that all complaints are addressed.
Bello, however, noted that the achievements of port reforms are clear indication that the government is not paying lip service to the industry.
“We in Nigeria Shipper’s Council will play our part so that the cardinal principles behind the ports reforms will be actualize. Government is not paying lip service to the industry but certain individuals in the industry are not leaving up to expectation. The government, by instituting port reforms, cargo through put and turnaround time for ships has improved but there is no reciprocal effort by the other party,” Bello said.
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