L-R: Assistant Comptroller of Customs; Dim Constantine, Maritime Lawyer; Mr Emmanuel Nwagbara, Director, Inspectorate and Compliance Directorate(ICD), Standards Organisation of Nigeria(SON), Engr. Obiora Manafa, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello during the seminar on Ethics and Integrity in Shipping Trade in Lagos yesterday.
• Says Nigeria, Not A Dumping Ground For Substandard Goods
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) said yesterday that it is targeting a 30 percent reduction in the cost of cargo clearance at Nigerian ports, after it would have signed an agreement with terminal operators and shipping companies operating in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr. Hassan Bello gave this hint at an enlightenment seminar on “Ethics and Integrity in Shipping Trade”, organized by the Council in collaboration with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Lagos.
He said that by next month when the agreement would have been signed, all the charges will be published for every stakeholder to know what to pay and what not to pay.
Speaking further, he said: “We have to take into consideration the cost of cargo, some costs are not justified, they are not tied to service and that is what we have been calling for, the shipping companies have been very understanding, we have gone through all the cost so that we can have a template”
“We are not going to control cost, but we will not allow arbitrary charges in the Nigerian port industry in the course of clearing cargoes”.
He explained that the Council’s goal is to promote an efficient port system that will encourage healthy competition, enthrone transparency, facilitate trade, reduce cost of doing business and make all players aware of their duties, obligations, responsibilities and liabilities.
He opined that with high ethical practice in place in the port system, vices such as impunity, presumptuous behaviours and ignorance with respect to adherence to procedures, rules and regulations will be minimized.
Bello also warned importers that Nigeria is a not a dumping ground for substandard products.
He maintained that it was important that both the Council and SON came together with critical stakeholders in the sector, to ensure that Nigeria is not turned into a dumping ground.
Bello reiterated the need for the traders and importers to conform to international standards in doing business.
"It is important we come with all the stakeholders and ensure that this country is not a dumping ground for inferior products. We have to conform with the international standard and we have to be very serious about our business standards", he told the gathering.
Explaining further, Bello said that importation of sub- standard products is dangerous for the economy of the nation, especially now that the nation’s economy is growing.
"It will kill our country; damage our economy and the devastating impact of making Nigeria a dumping ground is better imagined than experienced especially now that Nigeria is on the part of economic growth", he warned.
He however charged SON to set up standards for importation of goods and also ensure that there is a routine inspection of set standards.
"For importers of products, they must ensure that they meet the international standard. Some importers will import goods and dump them here in the country and that is ruining our economy", he added.
Bello however said that the collaboration between the Shippers’ Council and SON is timely and instructive, adding that the two agencies will also be bringing in other relevant stakeholders in the cause of time.
"We don't need substandard goods and therefore our collaboration with SON is timely and instructive. This is just the beginning we are going to go from market to market, we are going to the importers, police and anybody who is important so that we will sound this very important notice. Nigeria can not be a dumping ground for substandard goods", he said.