By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hon Emmanuel Jime has cautioned the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) against charging operators fees in Dollars, especially, the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) saying that the Nigerian laws does not permit such action.
Jime stated this in Lagos last week while inaugurating the newly elected executives of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) during a breakfast meeting in Apapa.
According to him, the NPA is one of the service providers which the Shippers Council has been mandated to regulate, and the Council is going to look into the allegations placed forward by the barge operators.
Speaking earlier during the meeting, Alhaji Nura Wagani, BOAN Director of Operations raised concerns that NPA is charging dollars from the operators.
“How can we as Nigerians be operating in Nigeria with Naira and our regulators are charging us in dollars?
We are dying gradually, to barge one empty container, it is costing us N265,000, what about the laden ones?
“The tariff regime of NPA is not doable, we need to put an end to this tariff regime because it is not sustainable. Before you operate as a barge operator, you must obtain a bond of N50million, if you don’t have patronage you cannot survive”
In his response, the Executive Secretary of the Shippers Council said that Nigerian laws does not permit dollarisation of charges that should normally be done in Naira.
“If you look at the Presidential direction and regulations that made the Nigerian Shippers Council the economic regulator of the maritime sector, we have been given the mandate to regulate the providers of services in this industry, and on that list if you open it, NPA is the number service provider that the Nigerian Shippers Council has been mandated to regulate.
“I am saying this because, if there are areas that appears as if there is a breech, we have a duty to seat down with the management of NPA and point out clearly and emphasize that there are certain things they cannot do because it is inconsistent with the laws of the land” Jime stated
The Shippers Council boss however lamented that there are inconsistencies with the legal framework of the various regulatory agencies in the maritime sector.
“This is one of the challenges that the legal framework has put us in a place where, if you look at the Regulations, you give an agency one power by the left hand and they take it away and give another agency by the right. These are the conflicts which we are working on” he assured