The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) has alleged abandonment and poor treatment on the part of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), this is even as the association said it is ready to vacate its second-floor accommodation at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) corporate headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.
Speaking to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos, the spokesman for SALS, Dr Kayode Farinto said that NSC have done little or nothing in protecting shippers in the country, even as he added that perhaps why the association has been treated with disdain is because SALS is housed under NSC.
He stated that the association has looked at the role of shippers in the Nigerian maritime industry and have realized that the shippers are not being carried along by the NSC in its activities.
He added that even though the shippers are the ones who lay the proverbial golden eggs, but said the shippers have always been at the receiving end of being neglected.
The SALS also informed that it is working with Federal Government to ensure that the Cargo Defence Fund, doesn’t become moribund like the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).
According to the spokesperson: “You people know that the Shippers’ Council currently accommodates shippers in Lagos. We were given an accommodation on the second floor of the NSC headquarters. You people need to visit that place to see the kind of accommodation that the NSC has given us.
“Due to this poor arrangement and lack of adequate projection, we have come to a conclusion that for us to be widely heard and listened to, the Shippers Association of Lagos State might move out of the NSC headquarters this year.
“Whether anybody likes it or not, the man that receives the highest blow in the import value chain is the shipper. When there are barriers in trade, the man that suffers most is the shipper.
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“It is unfortunate that the Federal Government is paying lip service to trade facilitation. Last year, Nigeria nearly entered back into recession because we don’t produce anything. As an import-dependent economy, we need to have trade facilitation at our ports.
“As Covid-19 cases worsen, restrictions might come harder. The man that brings in the cargoes must be protected.
“This year, the NSC must carry everybody along. It is important that the chicken that lays the golden eggs are protected. The shippers must be protected, empowered and encouraged.
“The style of administration of the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Emmanuel Jime is different from that of his predecessor, Hassan Bello. Yes, he likes doing things quietly, but we the shippers are yet to see the results of what he has been doing since he came on board seven months ago.
“Maybe it’s too early to start rating the man, but shippers have been treated with disdain since he came on board. Shippers have not been given the right recognition and cooperation that is expected from an economic regulator.
“We have made a lot of complaints, but it looks as if maybe because we are a tenant at the NSC, nobody listens to us. So, maybe if we get an independent accommodation where nobody pays our rent except ourselves, maybe people in authority will listen to us more”, he stressed.
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