Nigerian Shippers Council seeks powers to sanction erring shipping industry operators
The Nigerian Shippers Council, or NSC, is attempting to change its enabling statute to give it more authority to fine and prosecute organisations and people who violate the laws and regulations governing maritime activities.
The NSC oversees the economic regulation of the maritime sector in Nigeria.
Emmanuel Jime, the NSC's Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, claimed in a news interview that the powers were required to safeguard sector stakeholders from dishonest operators.
He claimed that in order to enforce compliance with laws in the maritime sector, which he defined as "very very sensitive," the Council was forced to work in collaboration with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, which is endowed with these legal authority.
Jime stated: “You cannot regulate unless you are able to sanction for wrong doing; and so the FCCPC is a body that has overall protections for consumers; they also have the ability, not only to arrest, to prosecute, but to sanction.
“We are pushing that in the amendment to the NSC legal instrument which put the Shippers Council in charge of monitoring activities in the maritime sector; that we would be afforded a legal frame work that will allow us to be able to pursue and implement our policies without having to rely on other agencies of government.
“That, to me, is the vacuum and the lacuna that exists in our legal frame work as at the moment. It’s part of the advocacy of the Shippers Council.
“So our relationship with FCCPC allows them to be able to process their investigations; their ability to intervene in the industry in a manner that is consistent with the civil nature in which business must be conducted in our ports.
On the issue of making the ports user-friendly and efficient, Jime said, “We are also undertaking a continuous advocacy for digitalization and automation of the port processes and operations.
“Everybody understands when you automate and when you digitalize, first, you remove human interface which usually is responsible for a number of infractions and service failures.
“The corruption that we talk about, the inefficiencies that you can clearly see, are as a result of human interface and can completely be eliminated when you bring in digital mode of doing transactions.”