The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has inaugurated a committee to review the parameters for charging the three percent freight benchmark currently collected by the Agency.
The inauguration of the committee is coming on the heels of a recent visit to the Agency’s office by the Shipping Association of Nigeria, an assemblage of the major shipping companies operating in the country who expressed concern over the current benchmark freight rate used in the industry.
The shipping companies had argued that the benchmark did not represent three per cent of the freight and that if it is calculated using some other parameters, it will be discovered that they are being charged more than what they should pay.
According to Dr Peterside, “As an organisation that is sensitive, we acknowledge that our actions have overall impact on businesses and our function as a regulatory agency is not to stifle business, but to encourage businesses, promote shipping and support both indigenous entrepreneurs and those who do business in our country. Also, our ultimate objective is to create the enabling environment for the industry to thrive, not for us to kill the industry. And we realize that there must be a meeting point between practitioners in the industry and those of us who are on the regulatory side.
“It is on that basis that we decided to assemble a team of Stakeholders; a mixed team made up of practitioners in the industry, other regulators and other Stakeholders to come together to advise us on what should constitute our benchmark,” the DG said.
Dr. Peterside advised the committee to let the overall national interest guide their decisions, not how much money that will come to the coffers of NIMASA and to them as businessmen.
“Let us be guided by the national interest of our country and the interest of the industry where we are all practicing. Things we must do must be in line with global best practices, so that we will remain competitive,” he stated.
The committee has six weeks to submit its recommendations, which will be studied by the Management of the Agency and thereafter forwarded to the Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi in line with Section 5, Sub (1) of the NIMASA Act