Under the new port regulatory framework, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) will soon begin to audit the accounts of terminal operators to ensure that their profits on investment are moderated as well as curb capital flight.
This auditing of account, observers believe could be another point of contention between the Council and the terminal operators who had told MMS Plus Weekly recently that as a mere Public Limited Liability company they would not make public their account for scrutiny.
Speaking with some media executive last week, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSC, Barr. Hassan Bello said, “according to the concession agreement there must be some investment audit. But who monitors and regulates this? The auditing has to be done by the Council. We have to have access to the terminal operators books. They have to send us information of their audited account and how much they have made.”
Bello added that the Council had gone into collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on how to help curb capital flight in the maritime industry.
Reiterating the commitment of the Council to eliminate private monopoly and ensure competition in port services pricing, Bello observed that the federal government’s auto policy was adversely affecting the port investors, urging the government to be consistent in policy formulations. He added that the auto policy should have been planned for implementation in five years time because investors had invested in the port industry as requested by the government and so needed a planning period to key into the auto policy.
According to him, one of the Council’s responsibilities as an economic regulator is protection of their (terminal operators) investment from undue interference leading to guaranteed returns on investment and increased profitability as well as assurance of level playing fields for all.
Speaking on the achievement of the Council since appointed port economic regulator, Bello said NSC had improved on its response time to solving shippers complaints, the result of which is more letters of enquiries and complaints from even the Federal Ministry of Finance and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Commending the Nigerian Authority (NPA) for introducing the e-payment system that has eased up port operations, he said that was achieved at the prompting of the Council.