The Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, is seeking amendment in its enabling law to empower it for sanctioning and prosecuting institutions and individuals that breach rules and regulations guiding operations in the maritime sector.
NSC is the economic regulator for the Nigerian maritime industry.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of NSC, Emmanuel Jime, says the powers were necessary to protect stakeholders in the sector from errant operators.
He said that the Council had to resort to partnership with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, that has these powers under the law in order to drive compliance to rules in the maritime domain which he described as “very very sensitive”.
Jime stated: “You cannot regulate unless you are able to sanction for wrong doing; and so the FCCPC is a body that has overall protections for consumers; they also have the ability, not only to arrest, to prosecute, but to sanction.
“We are pushing that in the amendment to the NSC legal instrument which put the Shippers Council in charge of monitoring activities in the maritime sector; that we would be afforded a legal frame work that will allow us to be able to pursue and implement our policies without having to rely on other agencies of government.
“That, to me, is the vacuum and the lacuna that exists in our legal frame work as at the moment. It’s part of the advocacy of the Shippers Council.
“So our relationship with FCCPC allows them to be able to process their investigations; their ability to intervene in the industry in a manner that is consistent with the civil nature in which business must be conducted in our ports.
On the issue of making the ports user-friendly and efficient, Jime said, “We are also undertaking a continuous advocacy for digitalisation and automation of the port processes and operations.
“Everybody understands when you automate and when you digitalize, first, you remove human interface which usually is responsible for a number of infractions and service failures.
“The corruption that we talk about, the inefficiencies that you can clearly see, are as a result of human interface and can completely be eliminated when you bring in digital mode of doing transactions.”