The Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, has lauded the mediation and regulatory roles of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and its high level of mutual relations with stakeholders.
Amaechi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Sabiu Zakari, made the remark during a Thanksgiving, Recognition and Award Presentation Night organised by the NSC on Monday in Lagos.
The minister called for continuous synergy among the stakeholders in order to make the objectives of the maritime industry realisable.
He said that the Appreciation Night was organised by the NSC as a means of interaction at social levels and networking, among industry players.
Amaechi said that it was gratifying to witness this sort of social engagement among stakeholders as it was a potent means of identifying ways in which value could be added in the maritime industry.
“We at the Federal Ministry of Transportation, see the organisation of this Appreciation Night as a positive initiative by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the Port Sector Economic Regulator, to demonstrate its style of regulation rooted in the industry.
“Stakeholders’ engagement by the council is not only on official matters but also at social level.
“The high level of attendance has shown a testimony of the high level of mutual respect and confidence between the council and the stakeholders.
“We are not surprised, considering the mediating role the council has been playing amongst stakeholders through its Complaints Handling System and numerous other means,’’ Amaechi said.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would support, encourage and incentivise the private sector to lead the transport sector and continue to provide a conducive atmosphere for its operations.
Amaechi, however, urged the private sector to engage the government through its agencies to bring to the notice of government their complaints and idea toward developing the sector along with the international best practices.
The minster commended the efforts of the NSC and urged the stakeholders to support such efforts toward maintaining cordial and mutuall- beneficial relationship in the overall interest of the economic development of the nation.
The Chairman of the occasion, Dr Nike Akande, who is the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI), said that there was need to relax and unwind even in the midst of the current challenges in the country.
She was optimistic that maritime agencies, government and the stakeholders would grow it all remained resolute in making the right policies choice.
Akande said that both the government and the private stakeholders in the maritime industry had common objectives of creating an enabling environment for investors in moving the Nigerian economy forward.
She commended the efforts of the NSC for organising the dinner, which she said would further improve interaction, communication, collaboration, networking and mutual trust among the key stakeholders in maritime and related sectors.
Akande described the NSC as a very strategic institution in the maritime sector.
“I must applaud the elevation of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to the status of the Economic Regulator in the maritime sector.
“This is a welcome development as it would improve the quality of engagement between the service providers in the maritime sector and other players in the economy.
“A number of activities need to be streamlined for efficiency and effectiveness and the various agencies at the ports need to work more harmoniously in the interest of the larger economy,’’ NAN quotes Akande as saying.
She said that there was need to make Nigerian ports and international trade processes more investment-friendly, adding that she was aware that the concessionaires had taken major steps in that regard.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, said that appreciating stakeholders was an example led by the Minister of Transportation, as he always moved closer to the stakeholders.
Bello appreciated all government agencies such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), LCCI and the Ministry of Transportation, among others.
He appreciated the support rendered to the NSC by the past chief executive officers of the council.
Bello commended the support of the maritime stakeholders for working toward making the Nigerian Ports the hub in the West and Central Africa region.
“The Complaint unit of the council has more interaction with the stakeholders and that is why the unit decided to give recognition to many outfits in the industry.
“We received complaints daily and we have to put people on the field.
“ We have received tremendous cooperation from government agencies and private operators in the sector and other operators in the maritime sector.
“We have to call stakeholders together for the synergy needed to solve problems emanating from operations in the industry.
“At the end of every year, we recognise them, appreciate them so that we can have more productive years, ‘’ NAN quotes Bello as saying.
He said that the recognition award by the council started in 2014.
Bello, however, urged all stakeholders to support one another so that the problems of the ports would be solved.
NAN reports that the Most Active Advocate For Change Award was given to the Minister of Transportation.
NAN reports that Certificate of Recognition Awards were given to: Integrated Oil and Gas Logistics Ltd. (INTELS), Ports and Cargo Handling Services Ltd., Greenview Development Nigeria Ltd., and Port and Terminal Operators Nigeria Ltd. (PTOL).
NAN also reports that the remaining Certificate of Recognition Awards went to: Alraine Shipping Nigeria Ltd., Pacific International Ltd., while the 2016 Best Compliance Exporter Award was given to Aulic Nigeria Ltd. (NAN).