By Etuka Sunday
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, has tasked the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to uphold international best practice if the Council must succeed in its new role as economic regulator of the ports.
A statement by the Head, Public Communications, BPE, Chigbo Anichebe quoted Dikki to have explained that as the economic regulator, the Council has been mandated to urgently provide economic regulation for the ports to ensure customers were fairly treated. According to him, there is great room to improve efficiency, eliminate corruption and unnecessary bureaucracy which delayed cargo clearance. The BPE boss who was represented by Mallam Uba Audu Mohammed, the
Deputy Director in charge of marine transport at the BPE, canvassed the positions in a presentation at the retreat on the Draft Regulation for Implementation by the Nigerian Shippers Council as Economic Regulator organized in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, in Kaduna which held between August 13 and 15, 2014.
The BPE chief executive enjoined the Council to ensure a highly professionalized and motivated staff whose core values would be due process, transparency and accountability with credibility. He added that a “regulator’s credibility depends on professional neutrality andtransparency.” He however noted that “economic regulation requires much more than just competent economic and financial analysis, but must also have the ability to manage complex interaction with regulated firms, consumers, politicians, court officials, the media and a range of other interests.”
Dikki also tasked the Council to, as a matter of principle; ensure that its regulations sustained private investment in infrastructure development, which is one of the rationale for the concessioning of the ports.
He contended that regulations should focus on market rules that encourage free entry and exit with entry rules, the right tariffs, quality of service, ensure access for the players, incentive regulations and conducive environment.
He noted that the market in the port sub-sector is very dynamic and requires that regulations should also align with the prevailing environment in terms of tariffs in a manner that it should not strangulate the service providers. To him, the regulator needs to always strive to be ahead of the operators who are usually very smart in their thinking, more so as there are myriad of roles to be played at the same time.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Shippers Council, Alhaji Hassan Bello, expressed gratitude to BPE for the leading role it has always played in economic reforms in the various sectors of the economy. He recalled that when NSC was named as economic regulator by the Federal Government in March, the Vice President mandated the BPE to draw up a work plan which the NSC is now working with. He added that his agency has been drawing from the Bureau’s reservoir of experts as both agencies have been collaborating from inception.