The Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS) says registration of port service providers by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) will sanitise the maritime sector.
The Registrar of NIS, Sampson Chima, made this known in Lagos on Friday while speaking on port reforms.
Chima said that the registration would make port service operators to be compliant with global best practices.
He noted that the registration by the NSC would check quackery in the system and restore investors’ confidence.
The NSC had in January introduced registration fees to be paid by all service providers at the ports.
The directive generated mixed reactions among port users.
The registration will end on April 1.
Chima said that such a reform whereby people had to pay money would always attract some resistance.
“The NSC as the port’s economic regulator and by virtue of the law establishing it is empowered to register every operator in the industry and by so doing, may require stipends to do so.
“It is normal for every other agency of government, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to also collect registration fees from shipping agents, terminal operators and others.
“The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) also do the same. Government thrives on such revenues.
“You discover that every agency does it; even Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) that registers vessels collects registration fees for profiling of operators, so what NSC is doing is right.
“I have heard some people arguing over why the NSC collects registration fees.
“It is in order as far as you have one or two things to do with the NSC; so that in the event of you looking for their assistance, they will confirm that you are a known practitioner,’’ he said.
A breakdown of the fees released by the NSC indicated that shipping line agencies and terminal operators would pay N50,000 per annum, down from the initial N100,000.
Inland container depots and dry port operators will pay N25,000 instead of N50,000; while off-dock terminal operators, cargo consolidators and shipping agency (non-vessel operating agency) will pay N10,000 down from N20,000.
Freight forwarders, clearing agents, haulage firms, stevedoring companies, cargo surveyors and shippers will pay N5,000 down from N10,000 initially fixed by the Shippers’ Council.
Chima urged those that had yet to registration fees to do the needful, saying that it was only when individuals had fulfilled their part that they would have the right to demand for services from the agencies.
“We want to see prompt services from the agencies in stopping sharp practices in the sector because the exercise will identify everybody and monitor their activities,” he said.
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