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Transport Minister confirms role of Shippers’ Council as economic regulator 

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Transport Minister confirms role of Shippers’ Council as economic regulator

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has been reaffirmed as the economic regulator of the Nigerian port industry.

Giving the reaffirmation on Friday at a sensitization seminar jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the council on “Promoting Competitiveness in the Maritime Industry: The Mandate of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Jaji Sambo reiterated the position of the Federal Government that NSC is the economic regulator of the port industry and enjoined stakeholders operating in the industry to cooperate the council.

The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Magdalene Ajani, also advised the stakeholders to get acquainted and be conversant with the supervisory role of NSC.

He recalled that the NSC was appointed interim port economic regulator in 2015 to effectively regulate tariffs, rates, charges and other related services as well as monitor all matters relating to the cost, standard and quality of services rendered by the regulated service providers.

He reiterated that NSC is the economic regulator while the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) remains the technical and supervisory regulator.

The minister declared that the two agencies are working  within the Nigerian port system for the good of the industry and advised those in court to embrace the regulatory roles of the two government agencies.

Sambo reiterated that NSC remains the port economic regulator pending the time the National Transport Commission would come into being to regulate the transport industry.

The Permanent Secretary earlier said she was glad that the two agencies, NSC and NPA, known to be fighting each other, have agreed to work together for the common good of the industry.

She hinted that the ministry is looking at committee reports with a view to implementing some of them.

In his presentation, the guest speaker, Prof. Bongo Adi, a Professor of Development Economics and Data Analytics, Lagos Business School, said that NSC was appointed the port economic regulator in in 2014 to promote competitiveness and compliance in maritime sector.

The professor noted that the agency was appointed the regulator almost a decade after ports were concessioned.

He stated that this was a challenge as it became a regulator that took no part in the concessioning.

Describing NSC’s late appointment as leading from behind to enforce competitiveness,
Bongo noted that the port industry is naturally monopolistic because  entrance into the industry is not open.

He explained that the competition arising from its monopolistic nature is what NSC is to regulate for competitiveness.

According to him, the most important sector of the economy is the foreign sector where the country interact with the rest of the world through import and export.

The professor charged that NSC must promote competitiveness that will buoy the nation’s export, saying that Nigeria’s monetary policy has become sterile.

Bongo declared that the only thing that can save Nigeria is export which must come in form of diversification.

He warned against relying on agricultural produce which he labelled as inferior goods.

He emphatically stated that agriculture should not be the priority except for the purpose of export.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, NSC, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Jime,  said that the maritime industry plays an important role in national development.

He noted that with the concessioning of the ports in 2006, cargo throughput increased, adding that about 70 per cent of exports pass through the seaport.

Jime stated that the ports need to be made competitive to guard against monopoly.

He informed that it’s against this backdrop that the Federal Government appointed NSC as port regulator.

The NSC boss expressed appreciation to Federal Ministry of Transportation and other sister agencies for their support in making the council carries out its duties.

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