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Wed, Aug 2, 2023 8:25 AM

Nigerian Shippers Council Collaborates with FCCPC to Establish Consumer Protection Regime in Shipping and Ports Sector

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Nigerian Shippers Council Collaborates with FCCPC to Establish Consumer Protection Regime in Shipping and Ports Sector
The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has partnered with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to develop a Consumer Protection Regime (CPR) framework in the shipping and ports sector. This collaboration aims to address infringements, promote fair-trade practices, and ensure the rights of consumers are protected. Through the CPR, various challenges and unwholesome practices within the maritime industry will be tackled, bringing about a positive change in the conduct of shipping and ports business in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has joined forces with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to establish a Consumer Protection Regime (CPR) framework in the shipping and ports sector. This collaboration aims to address infringements, promote fair-trade practices, and ensure the rights of consumers are protected.

Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary of NSC, announced the partnership during a sensitisation programme held in Lagos. Jime emphasized the need to strengthen the enforcement of both agencies' mandates to address the observed challenges and unwholesome practices in the maritime sector. The NSC and the FCCPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year to bring harmony, fair trade practices, and efficiency to the sector.

The establishment of the CPR will serve as a regulatory framework to address infringements by service providers and users within the industry. The shipping industry consists of various players who, in their daily transactions, may unintentionally infringe upon each other's rights. The CPR will provide guidelines to protect consumers and promote fair-trade practices.

According to Jime, the FCCPC Act outlines the rights of consumers in the shipping industry, which include the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, standards, and charges/rates of services. Consumers have the right to seek redress against unfair trade practices, restrictive trade practices, or unscrupulous exploitation. Additionally, they have the right to consumer education, enlightenment, and information on service availability.

The CPR framework aims to bring about a change in behavior within the shipping and ports business in Nigeria. To develop this framework, the sensitisation programme engages stakeholders to identify challenges faced by regulated service providers and users. These challenges will help shape the guidelines for seamless operations and minimize rights infringements.

Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, highlighted the need to protect consumers' welfare, whether they are freight forwarders, shippers, or practitioners in the sector. He emphasized that consumers should be the priority in any decision-making process related to the ports. Collaborative efforts between the NSC and FCCPC will ensure the rights of port users are protected and not infringed upon.

Integrity in port operations was also discussed during the sensitisation programme. Emmanuel Bosah, the Director of Programme at Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) Nigeria, emphasized the importance of strengthening compliance functions within port agencies. Compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) will help preserve and promote the rights of port users and consumers.

Bosah recommended implementing a robust, independent, and data-driven mechanism for evaluating compliance with SOPs. He also suggested providing incentives to encourage both port users and officials to prioritize integrity in their operations. One incentive could be the creation of a whitelist for importers, exporters, or agents who consistently comply with SOPs, granting them expedited cargo clearance. This would send a strong message that compliance to SOPs is beneficial.

The collaboration between the NSC and FCCPC, along with the implementation of the CPR framework, demonstrates a commitment to promoting fair-trade practices, protecting consumers' rights, and bringing positive changes to the shipping and ports sector in Nigeria.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-02 News

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