Former Managing Director of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Chief Adebayo Sarumi, has asked the present leadership of the Council to trim and professionalise its workforce to enable it deliver on its new mandate as port economic regulator.
Sarumi, who served as Managing Director of the NSC from 1996 to October 2003 and as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) from October 2003 to May 2007, said the NSC requires a team of competent professionals who would be able to implement the onerous task of ensuring fair competition and equitable service at the nation’s seaports.
Addressing the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the NSC during a stakeholders’ breakfast meeting in Lagos on Wednesday, Sarumi said the Council requires the services of well trained professionals in its new role.
Sarumi, who sacked over 10,000 NPA workers while implementing the port reform programme of 2006, said some staff of the NSC may have become dead wood and must be sent away to pave way for skilled personnel. He also charged the NSC to evaluate its capacity within the context of its new role.
“Have you done your SWOT analysis? Is the management of the Council such that they can handle this issue? Are they knowledgeable enough? You need to do a SWOT analysis of the organization structure. If you don’t do that and you say you want to carry out regulation, you will fail.
“Even if you have to send some people away, you have to do it. We did same too while I was at NPA because we find out that we have too many dead woods. There may be need to do an analysis of the quality of people you have there. Let the board be willing enough to open up to those who can come in from anywhere provided they have something to give you.
“Don’t get worked out by anybody sayings please don’t send anybody away. You may want to send 10 people away to be able to come in with only one man and the salary of 10 people may just be what that one man is looking for but what he will give is more than what those 10 people will give to you,” Sarumi counselled Bello whom he said he employed into the NSC while he was at the helm of affairs at the Shippers’ Tower in Apapa.
On his part, former Managing Director, Eastern Ports, Felix Ovbude, advocated the appointment of consultants as a stop gap measure pending the professionalization of the NSC workforce.
“On the issue of dearth of manpower or lack of competencies, the stop gap approach should be used with the appointment of consultants in specific areas so that the process of developing the manpower starts earnestly. If you don’t do that, it will be difficult for you to report on the mandate that you have.
“The question that should agitates their mind now is do we have the manpower to drive this process. Do we have the competencies? These are some of the challenges they (NSC) will face. How experienced are the professionals in the agency. What is the technical capability of its workforce? The question of function overlap must be addressed by the regulator. If these conflicts are not addressed, then right from day one, they will have problem,” Ovbude said at the breakfast meeting which was organised by the NSC as part of efforts to get the support of stakeholders under its new role.
… Minister says Council is an interim regulator
Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has assured that all pending transport sector reform bills including the Ports and Harbours Bill and the National Transport Commission (NTC) Bill will soon be transmitted to the National Assembly for passage into law even as he stated that the appointment of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) as port economic regulator is a stop gap measure.
Speaking on Wednesday at a stakeholder’s breakfast meeting organized by the NSC, Umar solicited the support of all stakeholders to enable the Council succeed in its new mandate.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of transport, Engr. Nebolisa Emordi, the Minister said that the delay in the passage of the transport sector reform bills was due to some issues raised by the Federal Executive Council which needed to be harmonized before its passage.
“As we talk now, the Honourable Minister has presented this memo after which the Attorney General vetted it but due to certain issues raised by the Federal Executive Council, Mr. President had to set up a committee under the vice president to make sure that all issues are addressed before the representation to FEC for approval and transmittal to National Assembly.
“The Vice President has since set up another sub-committee headed by the Attorney General and as soon as they finish their work, I believe within the next three, four weeks all these things will be completed and a representation will be made to the FEC”, he said.
He said the appointment of NSC to act as an interim port economic regulator for a period of one year was duly approved by President Goodluck Jonathan after due consultations with top government functionaries.
He NSC management to secure the buy-in and collaboration of all stakeholders to enable it succeed as port economic regulator. He added that there is also need for more funding of the agency to enable it effectively achieve its mandate.
“There is need for more funding. As at today, Shippers Council gets only one per cent from the seven per cent port development levy. There is need for an upward increase of that allocation which definitely will affect other agencies that are currently benefitting from the seven per cent and of course the Nigerian factor comes in because those agencies will fight tooth and nail to make sure that their own allocation is not reduced because if Shippers’ Council must get additional fund then somebody has to lose something,” he said.
Earlier in his keynote address, Chairman Governing Council of the NSC, General Salihu Ibrahim, assured that the appointment of the Council will improve services at the port and also provide a platform for central administration of commercial operations which will usher in uniform charges and rates for uniform operations and activities at the port.