By Etuka Sunday
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has said that plans are ongoing to ensure that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council was empowered to carry out its assignment as the new economic regulator for the port sector.
A statement by the Head, Public Communications, BPE, Chigbo Anichebe said, the Director General of BPE, Mr Benjamin Dikki made the disclosure yesterday when the Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Hassan Bello, and his management team paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Dikki said the Bureau had always believed that one of the major challenges in the ports reform was the absence of a regulator for the sector; adding that as a result, the BPE had advocated for an interim regulator pending the passage of the Ports and Harbour Bill currently before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.
He expressed the hope that the seven reform bills before FEC are approved and passed to the National Assembly for enactment before the end of the current legislative calendar.
The DG challenged the new interim regulator to assert itself so as to improve the efficiency at the ports and redirecting traffic away from the neighbouring ports to the Nigerian ports.
In his brief, Bello assured that the automation of the ports operation was critical to ensuring efficiency in the ports operation and improving the economic regulation of the ports system.
He said the Council was in the process of developing procedures to ensure operators introduced modern and efficient process, including reduction in all manual processes and improved work-flow system to make Nigerian ports competitive.
The Executive Secretary further promised that “the Shippers’ Council as the Ports Economic Regulator will promote equity of access to port facilities and services, exercise economic regulation of the ports system in line with government strategic objectives to promote fair trading practices and support the development of the ports.”