Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) may soon acquire new powers, far beyond what it has been noted for, in a bid to enable the Council perform as an efficient economic regulator in the ports.
This was part of the consensus agreement reached by the stakeholders, sequel to deliberations that followed a paper delivered by a Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Director in Monitoring Department, Ibrahim Kashim.
Subsequently, the participants took a decision on the need to have the Presidential pronouncements which appointed the Shippers Council as an economic regulator be gazetted, so as to ensure that other powers that may be thereafter conferred on the Shippers Council, may be built on more solid and enduring foundation, capable of lasting the test of time.
They also made proactive insights into possible areas of future litigations, from adventurous investors, even as some maintained that until the Council could operate with some degree of independence, it may neither enjoy respect, nor perform with legitimacy.
They specifically agreed that the Shippers Council 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 their new roles.
“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”, the Head of the Technical group, a Director of the Legal Drafting Department in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Alhaji Hamzat Alhassan Tahir highlighted further, insisting that every decision must be in total conformity with the constitution.
But overall, the brainstorming session concluded on the fact that every letter of the regulations to be evolved must ensure that investors fully understand the standards by which they are being controlled.
In other words, the rules must be transparent, legitimate, proactive, and encompassing, being easy to understand; and not impossible to obey.
The participation which enjoyed wider perspective and consideration as it entered its second day on Thursday, had adequate representation from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Justice and their counterpart from the Transport Ministry, the BPE, the Shippers Council as well as the legal department of the State House, Abuja, among others.