The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello revealed that within the last five years NSC had saved the Nigerian economy over $2.7billion by blocking leakages.
Hassan Bello made this disclosure while addressing the House Committee on Ports, Harbour and Waterways during their familiarization tour to the headquarters of the Nigerian Shippers Council.
He also pleaded with the House Committee to do its bit make Nigerian ports more competitive and resolve the challenges of doing business in the ports. Hassan lamented that Nigeria was placed on 170th by World Bank on a table rating countries with the ease of doing business.
“This committee is so important to us because in the next few years this maritime sector will be the crux of the nation’s economy in terms of revenue generation and this committee will be pivotal to the transformation in the industry. We need your support to clean our port environment, make it more competitive among neighbouring ports and also create equilibrium between Foreign Shipping Service Providers and Nigerian Shippers” Hassan said.
Hassan also emphasized on the need to make Nigerian port operations faster by speeding up cargo duel time via computerization and he asked the Committee to put efforts towards ensuring the Truck Transit Parks (TTP) and Inland Container Depots (ICD) projects are attractive to encourage a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Ports, Harbour and Waterways, Hon. Patrick Asadu said the committee would ensure that Nigerian Shippers Council is empowered to fulfill its mandate as port regulators because the industry is one which would cover for the drop in government revenue as a result of the continuous drop in global crude oil prices.
Explaining how the $2.7 billion had been saved by the Shippers Council, Mrs. Dabney Shall-Holma said the money was saved as NSC teamed with the Central Bank of Nigeria to cut the leakages on weight cargo importation especially during the oil subsidy saga in the last five years.
“It was strictly on the oil. We check the foreign exchange and it was during these checks that we found that there were incidences of overcharges, incidences of exaggeration of freight and incidents were freight was paid for services that were never rendered. As a shipper if I want to import weight cargo I can decide to increase the rate of importing because the high rate would mean that my subsidy will be higher. It is the total sum of the cost of the product plus the cost of the carriage that determines how the subsidy will be paid. This happened during the oil subsidy saga”, she said.
By Kenneth Jukpor