From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello, has advanced reasons why the federal government insists on proper documentation in every import cum export transaction.
He said quickening import clearance, provision of accurate records for national statistics and planning, improved revenue generation, higher compliance level which strengthens integrity in trade operations and fraud control as it concerns customs operation, are required for trade facilitation.
Bello stated this in a key note address delivered on his behalf by Alhaji Abubakar Bashiru, Deputy Director, Inland Transport Services, Nigerian Shippers Council, Lagos during well attended one-day enlightenment seminar, organized by the Nigerian Shipper’s Council, South East Co-ordinating Office, in Owerri.
He explained that the Nigerian Shipper’s Council is a Federal Government Agency, saddled with the responsibility of protecting the interest of Nigerian Shippers, before the federal government decides to appoint the agency as the nation’s Ports Economic Regulator in 2014. The essence he called is to fill the vacuum created as a result of the economic reforms that led to the concession of the nation’s seaports to private operators.
He pointed out that the agency was also mandated to act as an arbiter, in view of the fact that the vacuum already created was making it difficult for the nation to enjoy the gains of the ports reform programmes, the importance of which was to ensure efficiency in the procedure and operations of agencies and service providers as well as reducing the cost of doing business within the port environment.
Bello further revealed that the council within the few years of its existence as the nation’s Port Economic Regulator has championed a lot of reforms in the nation’s port sector.
According to him, “It has provided a level playing ground for competing interest in the port sector, managed transition to a competitive market and has been fair to all parties through procedural transparency, lack of arbitrary decision making and balancing the needs of stakeholders” he noted.
In her welcome address, Mrs. A.I. Okolue, he South East Zonal Co-ordinator of NSC reiterated that since the appointment of NSC as the nation’s Port Economic Regulator, its impact has been felt by the industry players and other sectors.
Okolue also opined that this has equally given the federal government agency the muscle to drive trade facilitation initiative the nation’s Port sector and ensure that the country reaps the dividends of the Port concession exercise.