Shippers Council partners ICPC to check corruption at seaports
Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Shippers Council NSC, apex economic regulator of the nation’s seaport industry has said it is willing to collaborate with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offence Commission I CPC, especially as part of measures to checkmate corruption and sharp practices at the seaports with a view to forestalling loss of revenue to the Federal Government.
Recall that the Maritime Anti-corruption Network based in Denmark had in a report in 2012 indicted some operators in Nigeria’s port industry of corrupt practices, a development that partly led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding MoU, between the NSC and the anti-graft agency, as part of measures to stem the tide of corruption at the ports.
Executive Secretary/CEO of the council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who spoke during a courtesy visit by the management of the council to the ICPC in Abuja, Wednesday, told the new acting chairman of the commission, Dr. Musa Abubakar that both organisations had been in collaboration before now, which has been beneficial to the nation’s economy, as it enhanced efficient service delivery as well as checkmating corrupt and sharp practices at the seaports.
He however admitted that despite the moderate achievements from the earlier collaboration, there are still challenges in terms of prevalence of corrupt practices, a development that has given rise to an urgent need for the council and anti-graft agency to resuscitate and further strengthen the already existing relationship.
This, according to him, would boost Federal Government’s policy of enhancing ease of doing business, boost the confidence of the investors Nigeria’s port industry and above all facilitate the country’s attainment of a hub port status for the West and Central African sub-region.
He said: “Before the commencement of the collaboration with ICPC in 2012, there were no orderliness, there was no standard of operation, people boarding a ship became a problem because such operatives would stay onboard a ship for a long time, which hampered efficiency and turnaround time of the vessels.
“We are therefore here to reinforce the collaboration and partnership between the NSC and ICPC because we strongly believe that the more we collaborate, the better, because operators in Nigeria’s seaports are no longer as corrupt as they used to be but we need to do more to sustain this tempo”.
The acting chairman had while responding to the proposition by the NSC –boss, said that the new management of the commission was excited to hear that earlier collaborations with the NSC yielded dividends, and therefore assured that the commission under his watch would further strengthen and sustain such collaboration in the overall interest of Nigeria’s economy.
He however admitted reports on 2012 MoU showed that there were some lapses, which would be addressed in the new dispensation, pledging the commission’s preparedness to further cement the existing relationship.
It would be recalled that the NSC had over the years enjoyed a cordial working relationship and partnership with the anti-graft agency. For instance with the formation and official launch of the Standard Operating Practice SOP, a brainchild of the council by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinjabo, the NSC enlist the support of the ICPC, which has made the implementation of the code a huge success.