The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime has lamented that the much-touted National Transport Commission might never come into existence after all.
A bill to establish the National Transport Commission was first sent to the National Assembly by then President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006. The proposed NTC was to serve as an economic regulator in the transport industry including maritime, rail, aviation and land transport. It was also expected to promote competitive market, conduct and ensure that the misuse of monopoly or non-transitory market power is prevented in the provision of transport services; promote private sector participation in the provision of transport services; ensure that operators and users have equitable access to the use of transport facilities, services, channels and routes.
However, the NTC bill was not passed until Obasanjo left office on May 29, 2007. Efforts to get the bill passed under the administrations of President Umar Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan from 2007 to 2015 were futile.
However, the present National Assembly has passed the bill twice but President Muhammadu Buhari declined accent both times.
“Safety regulatory provisions enshrined in some sections of the bill which are technical in nature fall within the purview of central legislation implemented by agencies like NIMASA (Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), NPA (Nigeria Ports Authority and therefore should be expunged from the bill.
“Two, the percentage of the amount to be retained by the agency from royalties collected under section 19 (2)(d) should be reduced from 10 to five percent. Section 12 (9)(2)(d) stipulates that a portion of the proceeds from royalties collected by the authority empowered to collect royalties from transport service providers should not exceed 10 per cent which is collected by service providers and concessionaires.
“Three, section 19 (2)(f) which stipulates charge of three per cent freight tariff stabilisation fee on all imports and exports out of Nigeria including wet and dry cargoes should be amended and reduced from three per cent to one per cent. This is what is currently contained in the Nigerian Shippers Council legislation,” Buhari had said in a letter conveying his rejection of the NTC bill to the National Assembly in December 2018.
Speaking recently, NSC Executive Secretary, Emmanuel Jime, who rued the rejection of the bill by the President, said there was another legislative instrument being processed at the National Assembly, the Omnibus bill, which included some elements of the Nigeria Shippers’ Council’s functions.
He said because the NTC was being processed, the aspect of the Shippers’ Council in the Omnibus bill was excluded when it was finally being presented to the National Assembly.
According to him, because of the limitations in the NSC Act, its ability to perform certain functions, such as sanctioning breaches is grossly limited, as the agency is not able to sanction people.
He said this was actually what informed NSC’s decision to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
He also said that the NSC is engaging members of the National Assembly to review its enabling laws and grant it proper funding.
The NSC was established in 1978 to provide a forum for the protection of the interest of shippers on matters affecting the shipment of imports and exports to and from Nigeria; encourage the formation of shippers’ associations all over the country; provide a forum for consultation between conference and non- conference lines, tramp-owners, the Nigerian Ports Authority.
It was empowered to perform its functions by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Act Cap. N133 LFN 2004.
In 2015, the Federal Government made it the port economic regulator through a gazette. As port economic regulator, it was mandated to provide guidelines on tariff setting in order to guide against arbitrariness; monitor and enforce standards of service delivery to ensure availability, accessibility, affordability, stability, predictability and adequacy of services; encourage competition and guard against the abuse of monopoly and dominant market positions; and perform mediatory role among stakeholders.
He said NSC’s main source of revenue generation – the two out of the seven per cent Port Development Levy imposed on consignees at the port, was not enough to implement the agency’s mandate.
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