Making NSC commercial regulator will check corruption at Nigerian ports, says SNFFIEC

A maritime industry pressure group, the Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition [SNFFIEC], has said that, if the Federal Government empowers the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as a commercial regulator, this will help address the problem of corruption in the nation’s ports.
The SNFFIEC National Coordinator, Chief Osita Chukwu, stated this when he led members of the group on a courtesy visit to the NSC’s Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Hassan Bello, at Shippers’ Towers, Apapa, Lagos.
Chukwu said that alleged arbitrary charges from shipping companies are as a result of an absence of a commercial regulator, noting that freight forwarders and importers are losing nothing less than N2 billion to arbitrary container deposit weekly.
While he said that the Nigeria ports are the most expensive due to the selfish tendencies of some unnamed groups, he affirmed that, when there is a regulator, there would be more transparency and efficiency in the ports system.

“Why we are here today is to make sure that the Federal Government announces the NSC to be the commercial and economic regulator of the Nigerian seaports, so that whenever you are at the Nigerian port, it will look like every other port. The NSC should be given the tool to work, and not just to establish the Council,” he said.

Responding, Bello assured that the NSC is making effort to bring sanity into the ports, stressing that if the problem of corruption is not tackled, it may work against the objectives of ports reforms.
The NSC boss said that the increased participation of private sector into the operation and management of the ports system is an indication of the Federal Government’s effort to fight corruption.
He maintained that when there is less human contact at the ports, it will help address the problem of corruption.
“The first thing we should do is to minimise human contact at the ports, and also bring in technology to the operations of the ports. In other jurisdiction, when you go you don’t see humans at the ports. Everything, from the payment, clearing process are regulated by technology, and this is the focus of the Federal Government in some months to come,” Bello said.

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