Stakeholders want NPA stripped of regulatory functions
Task NASS on speedy passage of maritime bills
Stakeholders in the maritime sector have called on the National Assembly to strip the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) of regulatory functions to enable the agency effectively concentrate on the mandatory administrative ones.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at a one-day public hearing on amendment of the National Inland Water Ways Authority Act (Amendment Bill, 2016 and Nigerian Ports Authority Act (Amendment) Bill, 2016 organised by the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, they enjoined the lawmakers to quickly pass into law the Ports and Harbour Bill to give legal teeth to the ports concessioning of 2006 and set performance benchmarks in accordance with global best practices.
The stakeholders, who cut across the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Nigerian Ports Terminal Operators, Nigerian Shipping Association and Maritime Advocacy Group, were unanimous in their appeal for review of the bill with a view to separating the regulatory functions of the ports from the administrative function of the NPA so that the ports could work more efficiently.
The representative of terminal operators, Chief Chidi Iluogu (SAN), said there was need for a framework that allows private sector’s participation in order to promote efficiency based on principles of accountability, competition, fairness and transparency.
A former Director of Post Privatisation Monitoring at the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Kashim Ibrahim Mohammed, noted that the pending bills would check the crisis bedeviling cargo handling and clearance at the nation’s ports when passed.
For efficiency, he urged the legislature to enact laws that would separate the functions of the NPA as the landlord from that of regulation, urging for speedy passage of the National Transport Commission Bill.
According to him, he anticipates a situation where the Nigerian Shippers Council will be adapted to transmute into the National Transportation Commission (NTC) since the council had latent statutory functions that are similar to those of the proposed NTC.
Senator Khairat Abdulrazak Gwadabe, who spoke on behalf of Maritime Advocacy Group, said concessioning was a modern trend globally as virtually all maritime nations had carried out one form of ports concession or the other. She regretted that exercise held in the country in the absence of a legal framework.
The committee’s chairman, Ahmed Rufai Sani, said he was optimistic that the maritime sector would contribute tremendously to the nation’s economic recovery efforts.
Earlier, Senate President Bukola Saraki lamented that the country was losing huge revenue to inefficiencies in the maritime transport system. He spoke while opening the meeting where the Deputy Minority Whip, Philip Tanimu Aduda, represented him.
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