The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has pleaded with the Federal Government to ensure that the Council is transmuted into the National Transport Commission (NTC).
Speaking yesterday when the Special Adviser to the President on Maritime Services, Leke Oyewole visited the Council, its Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello said the Council has the manpower and wealth of experience to carry out the responsibilities the bill seeks to achieve.
He said instead of settling up a new body, the NSC should be allowed to transform into the NTC noting that it will only amount to a duplication of functions if another body is created to carry out responsibilities already being carried out by the Council.
“Some of the functions of the NTC were lifted from the NSC Acts so I don’t know why we should duplicate functions. We are making a case that it should not be separate from what the Shippers’ Council is doing. As it has been canvassed by stakeholders, we want the council to transform into that bill,” he said.
Speaking on the cargo clearance process at the ports, Bello noted that despite the reforms of the port, there are still challenges especially in the area of cargo dwell time.
He said the port has not been competitive to shippers because of cumbersome clearing procedures, which he described as near ‘primitive’.
“Because of a modern way of doing things, we need a Presidential order and that has been approved by the Attorney General and it is before Mr. President to sign. We really love that the President signs that order so that the legal framework order will come with a regulation which the ministry is also working on and that will give us a frame work to operate,” he said.
In his response, Oyewole said, “I must be extremely grateful to the management of the Nigerian Shippers Council for what you have done so far. Cost moderation and other achievements within one year is an indication of your love for the job and for the country.”
He said without standardization of operations at the ports, it would be difficult to make any progress.
He however apologized for the inability of the government to resolve the traffic situation along the port access road noting that it was as a result of “unstandardised operations” around the ports.
He said the government has successfully linked the rail system with the port in an attempt to move cargoes faster pointing out that such will also be replicated in other ports.
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