• NPA to Become Technical Regulator
• Shippers’ Council Looses Transmutation Bid
• BPE Drops NTC Dream
After several hours of brainstorming at a technical/business session, key stakeholders in the port system last week endorsed the creation of an independent port regulatory agency to superintend activities of players in the nation’s port system.
To be called Independent Port Regulatory Commission (IPRC), it is an integral aspect of the much-awaited Ports Bill. The Bill seeks to repeal the Nigerian Ports Authourity Act of 1999 and to establish in its stead the Nigerian Ports and Harbours Authourity. It will also provide effective technical and economic regulation of the ports and institute a framework for Private Sector Participation, and for other related matters.
The consensus was reached when the House of Representatives committee on marine transport met with select members of the shipping community at an exclusive session which held in Abuja and which was attended by about 11individulas and corporate representatives as well as two members of the committee. The meeting was chaired by the chairman, sub committee on bills, Hon CID Maduabum. It was also attended by the chairman, sub committee on NPA, Hon Lanre Agoro.
Stakeholders who attended included: Mr Vasl Usifo, Dr Waheed Kareem, Otunba Kunle Folarin, Mrs Mfon usoro, Mr Sesan Onileimo, Capt Abiodun Omoteso, Capt Niyi Adeyemo, , Mrs Ify Akerele, Mr Azuka Ogor (representing Nigerian Shippers’ Council) and a representative of NPA.
Shipping Position Weekly had reported exclusively last week that the delay in the passage of the all-important bill was attributable to the sharp differences in the earlier position that was canvassed by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and that of stakeholders and the believe of the lawmakers that a multi-sector agency in the name of National Transport Commission (NTC) is unworkable and unacceptable.
We had also hinted that the legislators were in the last lap of their consultations and that the final document will soon be laid before in the House soon.
The strategic meeting agreed that NPA should be the technical regulator, while the Independent Port Regulatory Commission will be the commercial regulator.
A copy of the new bill which was made available to Shipping Position Weekly revealed that the commission will have wide powers including: provision of an economic and safety regulatory framework for the provision of services in the regulated ports operations, provision of a mechanism for the monitoring compliance of government agencies and services in the regulated ports operations.
The IPRC will also be responsible for the creation of an enabling environment for private sector participation in the provision of services in ports operations, while ensuring a fair tariff regime, ensuring right pricing and standard services. It will also adjudicate in disputes between the various stakeholders.
Apart from the consensus on the IPRC, the development may have also put paid to the ambition of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to transmute to the new regulatory agency. The meeting assessed the current role of the Council and submitted that as an interested party because of its statutory responsibilities as the protector of shippers, it can not saddled with the responsibility of a regulator. Similarly, the meeting conceded the responsibility of technical regulation to NPA, while agreeing that NPA can not be a commercial regulator.
Also indications emerged at the meeting that the BPE has dropped its previously held stand on the creation of a National Transport Commission (NTC) and has agreed with stakeholders on the IPRC.