The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) has called on the Federal government to regularly fund and give monthly grant to support run its Secretariat as well as run its activites.
Speaking at a one day Seminar in Lagos with the theme,” Working Towards A New Port Order”, organized by the association, the SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicol stated that the interests of the shippers were not adequately protected in the country.
Nicol noted that since all their money had been decimated through various government agencies and enactments, the little money left at their disposal, they used in promoting the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and their own cause.
He observed that although they recognized that the Federal government had been very concerned over the well being of the Nigerian shippers, a lot more needed to be done to save the Nigerian economy from collapsing.
According to him,” as at today, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the Shippers’ Associations in Nigeria are not revered the way they should be. At the moment, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is grossly neglected by government, even though they tactfully made them the Economic Port Regulator. We all should rise to the occasion whereby our empire has to be built and protected”.
“Government may have their reasons for this cold neglect, the casualty are the Nigerian Shippers. As primary partners to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, we offer our unflinching supports towards the success of its objectives until they prove that they are not capable of protecting industries, shippers and exporters”.
“In doing this job, the Shippers’ Associations must be catered for adequately. We are not adequately protected as yet. We need to be funded since all our money has been sapped through various government agencies and enactments, the little money left at our disposal we utilize to promote the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and our cause. Shippers’ Association of Lagos State must be funded regularly and be given a monthly grant to run its Secretariat”.
The SALS boss argued that since the association was working to bring sanity in the nation’s maritime industry of which the government and its agencies were the major beneficiaries, there was the need to provide funds to promote and support the Shippers’ Association objectives as required by UNCTAD.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barr. Hassan Bello noted that the Nigerian Port system had undergone several reforms by the Federal government in the past so as to place it where it should be.
Bello who was represented at the event by the Director, Inland Shipping of the Council, Mrs. S. Adeagbo hinted that the appointment of the Council as the port economic regulator was not only in recognition of the need for such regulator, but represents the culmination of series of efforts by the government to address the ills in the port system in Nigeria with a view to putting it on a more secured path of sustainability and growth.
He maintained that the Council shared and identified with the vision of all users of the port system and the service providers towards a well developed port system in Nigeria which included having a system that was fairly priced, automated, settles disputes timely and amicably, efficient and with easy access to and from the ports.
“Such port system will definitely eliminate corruption and reduce the problem of demurrage and human traffic at the ports to the barest minimum. In the light of these expectations, the Council is working assiduously to ensure that it is able to achieve these objectives within the shortest possible time”.
“Upon appointment as the port economic regulator, the Council held series of consultations with several stakeholders including shipping companies, other service providers and agencies of government. The Council must work together with them to identify problems and areas which must be prioritized to facilitate the speedy transformation of our ports in accordance with global standards”, Bello said.
He however restated that, to effectively maximize the capacity of the Council to actualize the mandate given to it by the government, the necessary legal framework must be put in place adding that,” this is also an aspect where considerable effort is being made and hopefully, this matter will be concluded very soon”.