Law Giving Shippers Council Powers To Assume Role Of Port Economic Regulator Coming – Ukeyima
The Executive Secretary of Shippers Council today said that It is very important to understand the Press around you and collaborate with the Press, to be able to also highlight your achievements out there, because you can be doing so much and yet so little is known about what you are doing.
Again, during this mandate that I have to run this agency in the next four years by God’s grace, if am here for four years, I should be able to achieve one or two things that history will tell, like you have rightly in your opening remarks, you talked about former Chief Executives that made impact in this place.
We are sitting in this building today because of the vision of somebody who led the Shippers Council at some point, who, I heard that he did so much with little resources to be able to give us this building, we are comfortably sited today to do the work of this Council. I may be here today by providence, by whatever God determined that I would be here today.
That’s why am here, but when am leaving this place, someone else will come in, and then whatever I have done for the period of time I will be here will be called to question and then, if I have done well, it will show, if I have taken the Council backwards, it will show and I pray that we should together uphold this Council and take it further from where we met it. And am counting on all of you to give me that support that is needed to move on.
The focus of this administration, our President, from his campaign promises and as soon as he came into office has shown that he is determined to diversify the economy of this country. And that is why he brought his ministry of Marine and Blue Economy to now begin to look at our marine resources and see how we use it as another line of foreign exchange earner for this country.
If you look at Sardine or Geisha, you will see written on it, “product of Maro C –that is from Morroco and they do not have the enormous marine resources that we have in this country, but they are using that as a major income earner for their country, and using the resources to develop their country. If you look at their energy sector, they have gone so far from where we are
And this is their major income earner. So the President is determined to look at the marine sector as one sector that will add to our GDP. Recently, our Minister for the Marine and Blue Economy said to the National Assembly while defending our budget said whatever he has done here will be for history to judge.
From the priority area the President has given to his ministers, when he signed the performance bond with them, that was cascaded down to the Agencies of this ministry –Marine and Blue. At the Shippers Council, one of the priority areas applicable to us out of the three applicable to the ministry is priority number three – which is to grow the economy and improve access to funds and all of that.
In this sector, the volume of trade that comes into Nigeria, we all know that what is being reported now is grossly below what actually is, this is because the infrastructure needed to put in place to monitor trade flows in this country are not actually there. If we have those infrastructure, our funding will improve, not talking about the marine resources we are exploring.
This is because the infrastructure needed to put in place to monitor trade flows in the country are not actually there. If we have those infrastructure, our funding will improve, not talking about the marine resources we are exploring.
For instance, in the Shippers Council today, we have the mandate to establish the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN). This is the platform that will monitor trade and give us the correct volume of trade that is coming into this country. And as we look at the statistics, we also know what is revenue that is being generated by the Cargo Tracking Notes for this country.
It is not only desirable, it is needed, it is long overdue –for us to have a cargo tracking note of Nigeria. Even smaller countries surrounding us have already established their own cargo tracking notes and they are using it.
This is not just beneficial to us in terms of revenue generation, but also beneficial to us in terms of monitoring what comes into our shores, to be able to enhance the security of our country, because if we know the cargoes that are coming into our country, then we are in a better position to plan and then to secure what comes in. what is not desirable will not be able to come into our purse.
The mandates that we have as a Council responsible for one of this priority areas of our President is to ensure that deliver this in the third quarter of next year, and we need your support in this area to push us to be able to achieve that. We have other areas of development, like the Funtua Inland dry port which we have done so much in that area, we have the mandate of Mr President to ensure that we deliver that by the first quarter of next year.
And all of this will improve significantly going forward to see how we can facilitate trade, even taking advantage of the AGFTA agreement. You remember we are almost the last country to sign the agreement, so many things have happened even before we signed. There are opportunities under that agreement in terms of trade facilitation.
We need to quickly do what we can to achieve all of that, improve on the standing of the knowledge of our people in terms of trade facilitation within the continent. That is what will guarantee the level of revenue generation that we are looking at. I sincerely want to thank you for taking out time to come meet with us today.
The 2004 Shippers Council Establishment Act CAP 133 laws of the federation is to be amended to give teeth to the Agency assume its new role as port Economic Regulator and trade facilitator.
Akuta Pius Ukeyima, MON, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council disclosed today while playing host to members of the League of Maritime Editors. According to him, the amendment is already before the National Assembly, as the Speaker, Chairman of the Committee on shipping, as well as the Senate Committee Chairman are all in agreement that the bill needs to be passed as quickly as possible, not later than the second quarter of next year.
For me, one of the quick wins that I want to achieve quickly as possible, you will see that we have the Shippers Council establishment Act Cap 133 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.
That act needs to be amended, and as I speak to you now, we have it before the National Assembly and the Speaker and the Chairman of the Committee on Shipping as well as the Senate Committee Chairman, they are all in agreement that the bill needs to be passed as quickly as possible.
We believe that the manner that they are taking this act, we believe not later than second quarter of next year, we should have that act in place.
This Act will help us not only to fully establish statutorily that we are the port Economic regulator and trade facilitator. It will give us the enabling environment within which to work within the ambit of the land.
That Act will incorporate regulation for 2015 and the order of the President establishing the Council as the port regulator and Trade facilitator, as soon as we have the Act in place and other enables that we are looking will ensure the revenue base of this agency will improve otherwise.
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At the moment, what we take as our revenue is two per cent of port development levy which is not adequate for us to be able to achieve the mandate for which the support of the ministry, National Assembly and all other stakeholders, we believe that this Act will come as soon as possible.
We are also looking at some of those concession agreement of those dry ports, it made provision for what the government will do, it also made provision for what the concessionaires want.
One of the challenges we are having is how to let the two partners work together effectively. In some cases, the State governments have not been able to award lands, meanwhile, it is their responsibility to do that, some places, laws have been awarded but the necessary documentation have not been carried out, so the concessionaires cannot even enter to even commence work, we want to see how we can review that and ensure that persons for the concessions are people who have means.
We want to also promote port efficiency at the ports, at least about 24 hours cargo clearance rather than the 48 hours now, so that gradually we can move that into international standard. we want to also promote the electronic traffic management system in the ports.
Earlier on the President of the League of Maritime Editors, Chief Timothy Okorocha congratulated the new CEO of the Council and the sought for partnership to make him succeed.
He also enumerated the challenges of members of the fourth Estate of the Realm who are into publishing, saying the cost of printing material has gone astronomical.
I want to thank you, individually and as a group for finding time to come and I want to believe that you are the first body like to actually visit us since my assumption of office, in line with your vision that you wanted to be the first to come and the move you made. Although, it tarried a little bit, at the end of the day, you have achieved your desire to be the first to come to brief us.
I think this is the first time we are receiving a body like this. And to also know that you have been in this business for so many years is a guarantee that I have people with so much knowledge in this sector that I can run to any time for information, I can run to any time for support, in case we need such information to go out there.
Like you said, this is not my first interaction with the media from my background as a Prosecutor, I have worked in the Federal Ministry of Justice, I have prosecuted high profile cases, I also have my name mentioned in the Press sometimes wrongly, at times rightly, so I understand also that the Press can actually take the message out there, be it good message or wrong message.