Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Mr John Ofobike has asked the Federal Government to appoint a commercial regulator to oversee the operations of concessionaires in the maritime sector. The chairman said this in Lagos.
The commercial regulator is responsible for ensuring that port users operated within the ambit of the law as well as the protection of the facilities.
Ofobike said: "The concessionaires are business men that come here to make profit; somebody must be there to regulate them. The concessionaires are having a field day with no one to moderate their excesses; they are maximising profits at the expense of quality services."
According to him, they lack modern equipment thereby making it difficult to clear cargo quickly. He said that the government owed it as a duty to protect Nigerians by appointing a commercial regulator to protect the rights of shippers and other stakeholders.
The ANLCA Chairman regretted that it was not possible to achieve 48-hour cargo clearance because of the absence of a commercial regulator. He lauded the government's good intentions in bringing the concessionaires to enhance operations at the ports but claimed that they were uncooperative.
"I am not totally against port concession; at least there is a decrease in corruption but when there is insufficient manpower on the part of the terminal operators and they want to save money and use bad equipment then something must be done," he said. Ofobike also urged the government to review the rates importers paid to clear cargoes.
He listed other issues which needed the government's attention to include the lack of quality services, insufficient manpower and bad access roads to the terminals.
The chairman said that the concession of the ports has not impacted positively on his association because of delays in clearing cargoes.
"Port concession has affected my pocket because there is non-availability of trucks to carry containers from the ports; the vehicles are scarce because there is no place to drop empty containers after the load in them has been discharged," Ofobike said.