Tuesday, May 02, 2017 1.28PM / By Segun Oladipupo, Blaze News
The West Africa Road Transport Union (WARTU) has said that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) may not be able to shoulder the responsibility of a regulator if it eventually transmutes into the Nigerian Transport Commission.
This doubt is coming on the backdrop of allegations of ineptitude and non-congruence against the council over its failure to carry out the most basic functions expected of it; over the years.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Nigerian chapter executives of WARTU, the President of the West African body, Aloga Ogbogo spoke up, berating the NSC for failing to be proactive in carrying out its primary function as a port regulator.
He said this on the heels of many other reported infractions and the silence from the port economic regulator over the new freight rate by truck owners as the Shippers’ Council failed to mediate.
It would be recalled that the NSC had earlier concluded plans to introduce new charges which was supposed to take effect from April 2017.
Ogbogo urged the council to be seen as being active in its mandate(s) and umpire roles in port operations; adding that the regulatory agency has not performed as expected in so many areas on issues affecting maritime haulage operations.
According to him, the quest for the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to transmute into the National Transport Commission (NTC) might be hindered if it failed to address factors affecting transportation and bad roads linking the ports; amongst other internal issues.
Ogbogo who also doubles as the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO); appealed to the council to ‘up the ante’ in discharging its responsibilities.
Worried about the new freight, Ogbogo said that the freight rate, when implemented will lead to divergent and negative reactions from stakeholders yet the council has not shown any interest on how to intervene and determine the way forward.
Speaking on the cargo movement from Nigerian seaports to neighbouring countries in the sub region; Ogbogo lamented that the lack of infrastructures in Nigeria hinders the business. In his words: “I am aware that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is supposed to introduce freight rate to the industry but I think it has not yet executed an effective one as we speak.”
“We expect that since the price of gas will increase, the cost of tyres will increase, drivers will demand salary review from their employers etc; and as such the council should take it up and discuss with transporters on the freight rate(s).”
“It is better to be proactive most times as a regulator before issues like this escalate than finding solutions, therefore I am appealing to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to be proactive as it will be difficult to solve that problem when it eventually escalates”.
On his part, spokesman of WARTU, Alhaji Nasiru Salami berated the council for failing to compare and contrast freight charges in other neighbouring countries within the sub-region and indeed act accordingly to address issues affecting roads and freight charges.
Responding on behalf of the Nigerian Shippers Council; Director, Consumer Service, Mrs. Christy Jatau assured the transporters that the council will call for an elaborate meeting where such issues can be discussed. She added that the transporters have a key role to play in moving cargoes within and outside the shores of the country.