Shippers’ Council seeks new regulatory powers

Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) may soon acquire new powers, far beyond what it has been noted for, in a bid to enable it perform as an efficient economic regulator in the ports. Indication to this effect emerged in Kaduna on Wednesday at a stakeholders parley organised by the NSC.

Deliberating on a presentation by the Director, Monitoring Department of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Ibrahim Kashim, at the event, stakeholders were unanimous in their call for government to further empower the NSC and for a formal Presidential pronouncement on the NSC’s new status and the gazetting on same.

Participants at the meeting also gave insights into possible areas of future litigations even as some maintained that until the Council is able to operate with some degree of independence, it may neither enjoy respect, nor perform with legitimacy.

The participants specifically agreed that the NSC must not be bogged down by the limitations of its former powers, but must be re-empowered, to become more dynamic, relevant and focused to function in its new role.

“We are not looking at powers to enable the Shippers’ Council to act as Shippers’ Council; we are working to evolve legal framework, in line with the constitution, to enable the Shippers’ Council to act as an economic regulator,” Director of the Legal Drafting Department in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Alhaji Hamzat Alhassan Tahir, said.

Overall, the brainstorming session concluded that every letter of the regulations to be evolved must ensure that investors fully understand the standards by which they are being regulated.

In other words, the rules must be transparent, legitimate, proactive, and encompassing, easy to understand and not impossible to obey.

The participation which enjoyed wider perspective and consideration as it entered its second day yesterday had adequate representation from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding of Nigeria (CRFFN), the Federal Ministry of Justice; the Federal Ministry of Transport, BPE, Nigerian Shippers Council as well as the legal department of the State House, Abuja, among others.

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