Mr Lucky Amiwero (President, Council of Managing Directors)
The new Port Act should make provision for economic regulator of activities in the ports. What we have at the moment is technical regulation which covers the core marine aspect and which in a way is being carried out by the Nigerian Ports Authourity. The law must also make provision an economic regulator to handle commercial disputes, NAP can not do this and we have said this severally. There must be provision for the two. The economic regulator must be an independent body. Secondly, the law must avoid duplication of responsibilities. There are many of such instances in the draft. One is wrecks removal responsibilities, because I have read through the draft bill and I can see that the new law seeks to also give responsibility for wrecks removal to NPA. The new law must also address the issue of monopoly in the ports and enhance best practices in the ports.
I think the move to amend the Nigerian Ports Authority Act is a good one, because there is a lot of irregularities going on in that agency, there is a lot of corruption going on there, there is slavery of workers especially the dock workers, people are not being well taken care of and a lot money is going down the drain.
I also expect that the much talked about Cabotage law will be looked at in the new Act because so far, it is not working and NIMASA and the other agencies that are supposed to implement it are not doing a good job. Since the Cabotage law under NIMASA is not working, maybe they should empower the NPA to be the implementing agency.
Alhaji O.C Alawode (Importer)
I believe the Act is to give legal backing and to further empower the NPA to carry out its statutory functions properly, I understand that since the NPA was set up, the Act has only been amended in 1999 and I know it is the big guns in the industry that will not allow other efforts on it to surface.
Also, there are a lot of irrelevant security agencies in the ports and even though, the chairman of the board of directors of the NPA promised when he came to the ports that it will be checked, we still see them all in the ports.
The bureaucracy that has been the lot of NPA should be addressed and corrected to enhance more effective service.