The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello strongly believes the nation’s transport system can be rejig, reinvented and reinvigorated to positively transform the economy and lives of the masses; and his Council as Port Regulator will leave no stone unturned to achieve it. He indicated this in Lagos, saying the Council, presently working on meaningful port tariffs, and an evolving modern rails system would leverage on Stakeholders’ synergy and infrastructure rejuvenation!
Now that you have secured a renewal of your appointment as the Executive Secretary Nigerian Shippers Council, what should Nigerians expect of you?
Our focus is to deliver modern infrastructure. We want to have a modern port and ultimately a port system where the processes and procedures are world standard.
And this we have started doing by being more focused on standard operating procedures for every working person in the port.
Hitherto nobody knew what the other agency was doing but now we have come together with other agencies to devise standard operating procedures for almost all the agencies; for the shipping companies, for the terminal operators, for Customs, for NPA, for Port quarantine , for NDLEA, and almost everybody.
We are also working with ICPC to ensure that these standard operating procedures are not only known to everybody but also enforced.
That is the beginning of orderliness at the port!
You would have noticed we have brought so many agencies here: the quarantine were here last week; we’ve spoken with Federal Road Safety Corps; we are all looking at the procedures of how each operates at the port, and to make sure that it is in accordance with what obtains or is followed up, by the world.
This is to showcase our efficiencies, it will showcase transparency, it will showcase the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and this is just the first step.
The Nigeria Shippers Council has also devise the port support portals which has an online complain procedures now, and we are getting response from all the agencies. They are responding through person who are their authorised officers; and their profiles through which complaint of every agency would be met are being satisfied.
We are also working with the shipping companies to bring out a very stable and sustainable tariff mechanism.
Are you saying that even with the case in court, which has already reached the Court of Appeal level, you are still working on peace?
We don’t begrudge the operators for going to court; you know out-rightly everybody wants a definition. But what is most important is we are forging ahead and we want to establish a sustainable mechanism of settling dispute including negotiation on tariff.
We are consulting with stake holders, we are consulting with the government in this regard and very soon the charges at the ports would not only be regularised but would also be transparent. Right now, it is the tariff that is being negotiated with the Nigeria Shippers Council. And happily, we are focusing, as I have said, on ease of doing business; we cannot go on with onpeckners in our port industries. We demand and we would entrench transparency.
…To be Continued