By Godfrey Bivbere
A group under theÂ Â aegis of NationalÂ Â Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has faulted calls byÂ operators for agencies in the maritime industry to transform into a commercial regulatory body, stressing that this is the need for an independent outfit for efficient control of the sector.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr. Lucky Amewiro, national president of NCMDLCA, said the regulatory body must have the capacity to perform the function effectively and also look at the law and implement it to the later.
Amewiro, explained that in other countries like South-Africa and India, there are regulators who are not only independent but look after the interest of local operators against foreign exploitation. He noted that these countries have different regulators for tariff and for operations.
Amewiro noted that both Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Shippersâ€™ Council (NSC) which are players in the port system can not perform the function of a regulator without being influenced by their interests.
He came down hard on the NSC which he pointed out is supposed to protect the interest of shippersâ€™ in the country but expressed regret that it has since became the mouth piece of government in matters concerning shipping.
He further questioned the rational behind Shippersâ€™ Councilâ€™s collection of the one per cent revenue from the seven per cent port development levy being taken from shippersâ€™ in the country.
He argued that the management of the Council seem not to know what to do and that is why they are embanking on projects which are not backed by any law.
The NCMDLCA boss observed that the Shippersâ€™ Council had no legal backing to establish Inland Container Depots (ICDâ€™s), talks less of issue certificate to any firm to operate the ICD.
He further noted that the law establishing the Council did not mention ICD, stating that it is only section 65-71 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and the Port Act that talked about Bonded Terminals.
It would be recalled that the management of the NSC has for some time now been clamouring for government appointment of the Council has regulator for the ports system but the dream has been killed in the House Committee on Marine Transport which recently looked at the Ports and Harbour Bill before the National Assemble.
Similarly, The management of NPA had began campaign to take up the responsibility of regulating commercial activities in the sector.