Prior to the ascendancy of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to the throne of the economic regulator of the Nigerian ports, many stakeholders had clamoured for it especially that role would best be performed by the Council for its strategic role and its statutory roles.
The eventual nomination of the Council for the same role was greeted with ovation especially that the burden of excessive charges was weighing the operators down and needed a saviour in that capacity.
But few months after the assignment was given to the Council, the same operators who clamoured that the Council was the most befitting parastatal have started complaining. The reasons for their hues is not farfetched; some say the Council is taking too long to spring into action as the same issue that made them ask for commercial regulator is still holding sway in the industry.
An operator from the freight forwarding sub-sector recently, was grumbling for what he referred to as the reviewing the capital base of the freight forwarding and customs licensed firms in order to meet up with international practice. According to him, that is not the first thing to do as there are germane issues that the Council is supposed to take up before thinking of trivial issues as the capital base of freight forwarding firms.
Similarly, there are complaints from some quarters that the exorbitant rates paid importers and exporters at the port have not changed.
However, recently, the management team of the Council went on a visit to some terminals to acquaint them with their intended operational areas and process. They spelt out their functions to the terminal representatives with the assurance that they would be transparent in carrying out their functions.
But stakeholders are beginning to get apprehensive as the time is running very fast and nothing has been seen yet neither is any structure or pointer to the fact that things would soon change.
Could it be that the management of the Council is still taking its time to prepare for the function or it is still consulting with people that matter to avoid mistakes? Is it putting some infrastructure in place for the commencement of the exercise? Is it human resource problem?