PORT ECONOMIC REGULATOR: Shippers’ Council cannot sanction yet, says Maritime Lawyer

Maritime industry stakeholders have continued to express divergent views on the appointment of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as economic regulator for the nation’s seaports as reported yesterday by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.

Maritime Lawyer, Emeka Akabogu, while lending his voice to discussion yesterday described NSC’s appointment as a welcome development but added that because of its enabling law, the council might not be able to sanction any operator, service provider or consumer of port services.

“How effective they can sanction is going to be called to question because the primary essence of the economic regulator will lay in its bite in terms of sanction. It will be a challenge enforcing sanctions in the absence of a statutory backing.

“My thinking is that since the intention is to get statutory backing but in the interim to generally put in place broad frame works for the regulatory functions which is expected of an economic regulator; I think it is a step in the right direction,” Akabogu told SHIPS& PORTS DAILY via telephone yesterday.

Despite the absence of statutory backing, Akabogu said the NSC should proceed to start laying the foundation for implementation of its new mandate.

“The ultimate is to have statutory backing to be able to give authority to sanctions which are going to be imposed and sanctions are the essentials of an economic regulator,” he said.

The Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) confirmed to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Friday that the council will serve as economic regulator for the ports pending the passage of the National Transport Commission bill which has been pending since 2007.

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) was established in 1978 by decree 13 NSC Act Cap. N133 LFN 2004 to protect the interests of Nigerian shippers.