National President, National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Lucky Amiwero has faulted the new NPA Act amendment bill, saying that the effort is coming a little too late.
Amiwero told maritime journalists last week that there ought to have been an enabling law before concessioning the nation’s seaports and argued that the exercise clearly and further shows that the port concession exercise that was done about three years ago was a fluke and an illegality.
According to him, since the port reform was carried out without any legal frame work guiding it, current efforts aimed at amending the Port Act is only an attempt to smuggle in the concession deal. “In the Port Act, they are trying to smuggle concession into the chapter nine, that means that what we have been doing before is not legal”.
“It is now that we want to pass a new law when we have finished the concession, when it has gone for four years, NPA, BPE and Shippers Council does not know the role of the concession, the concessionaires are there increasing charges, nobody regulates or control them, no body is in charge and there is no law to say this is the person in charge, there is no law to say you cannot increase charges, they do what they want to do”
He equally disagreed with the move to make NPA the technical regulator, stressing that allowing that will be akin to regulating itself.
According to him, instead of doing that, the new law should empower an independent body to do the task. “A regulator must have the capacity to confront, so it must be an independent regulator, you cannot bring in NPA or Shippers Council to come and regulate because the Shippers Council for once has been speaking for government for the past three years instead of protecting shippers” he said.