The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), on Thursday said it will sanction the Port and Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL), over arbitrary increase in its charges.
The council, which disclosed this in a press statement by the head, public relations of the Council, Hajia Rekiya Yagboyaju, directed the terminal operator to return to its former rates.
The acting Executive Secretary of NSC, Ms. Ifeoma Ezedinma, said such acts will attract sanctions as the Shippers’ Council, through public notices, visits and correspondences is always advising regulated service providers to obey the laws.
Also, citing clause 5:5 of the Lease Agreement between Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and PTOL, NPA’s general manager (Monitoring and Regulatory Service), Mrs. Ugo Madubuike, said the increase in charges was in contravention of the contractual agreement.
She said clause 5:5 states, “The lessee shall not make any increase in the operation rate unless agreed to in writing by the parties and any required persons or governmental authority has been obtained.”
NSC and NPA, therefore, advised PTOL to present its proposed increases for negotiation through official channels as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, PTOL’s general manager, Macpherson Nwaukoni, apologised for the oversight while explaining that the action was taken due to losses the company incurred in the course of its operations.
The losses, according to him occurred as a result of the import ban on certain items resulting in the company’s inability to meet its obligation to the lessor, particularly the rental debt owed NPA.
He also said the comparison of their rates with other terminals revealed that their own charges were much lower.
Also, the director, Legal Services Department of NSC, Mr. Tahir Idris, advised PTOL to obtain documents on NSC’s Legal Framework in order to acquaint itself with the regulatory procedures of tariff increase and to also be guided to ensure they follow right protocol.
For his part, the director, Consumer Affairs, Chief Cajetan Agu, insisted that PTOL revert back to its old rates until due process is followed.
He stressed that operator’s action contravened the contract it signed upon the lease, and as such they violated the lessor contract and NSC Act.
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